From Keith´s to Tasmania

When I arrived at Keith´s it felt like coming back home. Didn´t have to use my GPS to get there, new where everything was. Later in the day we went to the Pub, to Spottiswood, as always. Again, just like coming back home. When I used the toilet I came to the conclusion “you know that you´re home when you know where the toilet in the pub is…” We had a good time in the pub, as always. Some people remembered me from the last time i´ve been there. During the day I got my stuff organized and in the afternoon we went back to the pub. We´re always haveing such a good time there. On Sunday Keith had some friends from Holland coming over, Leen and Jaco so I met the three of them in the pub…again. More fun times and more laughs. Bloody Keith, No more up and down moods. Cheers for that, mate! I´m always having fun times with him and great conversations. He´s as well always thinking about “where next” and we exchange stories, experiances and “i´d love to go there” stories. Don´t think much about saving money at the moment, just happy to live life and having a good time.

On Monday I met up with Leen und Jaco and showed them a little bit around Melbourne CBD, all the grafiti lanes and some cool bars. Felt a little like a local. Leen and Jaco left on Tuesday and I booked my ferry to Tasmania for thursday evening. Some more great evenings at Spotties with Keith and off I went to Tassie. Was a bloody hot day. 39°C and I was waiting in the line up for the ferry. bloody hot that is. The ferry ride was easy but 10hrs are long. Met Ian, an other biker on the ferry so we had a chat for a while.

Getting off the ferry in Tasmania I met up with Declan Osborne real quick. I came off the ferry and he went on it. Not a very good timing. A brief catch up is better then non. No idea where I was heading. Ended up going West. I was surprised how white the beaches are in Tasmania and how blue the water is. Went down some backroads down the West coast. Beautiful scenery. Was quite happy just riding along. To Zeehan, Strahan and over to Queenstown and on towards Lake St. Claire where I went hiking for a day. Just love my lifestyle. Riding my bike, camping out every night, living simple, going hiking, live life.

Went on to Mt. Field and the beautiful road out to Strathgordon. Some more hikes in the area and nice chats with a chic in the Info centre. Seems like the first day she realized that i´m not a backpacker or tourist so she gave me some cool ideas what to do. She was not like the rest “you shouldn´t do that by yourself” or “you shouldn´t go there” She just said “take care and let me know that you´re back” Next time when I came back she luckily was there again and she said “oh, up for more adventures?! I´ll send you somewhere where almost no one goes” When I left I heard her collegue say “he needs the key for the gate and he has to sighn the paper” Her reply was “naa, he´s on a bike, look at him, he´ll be alright” wich made me smile.

I recieved a call about a job application and I was asked to come in for an interview on Monday. I said I´m about 60km away so I can come in this afternoon. I applied for a short term TIG welding job and thought that this would get me up on my feet in Tassie and pay my bills til I figure everything out. It was via a placement agency. At the interview the lady told me about two other jobs with better pay but no overtime. I thought yeah why not. Passed my weld test and could start work there. But I was still livin on the campsite. The next days I had two other job offers. But still no place to live. I always seem to first find jobs before I have a place to live. In the first week I found out that they are actually so busy that they work saturday and sunday. Exactly what I was looking for. But Since I was with a placement agency I was too expensive to do overtime. What a bummer. I just see money running away every weekend and that hurts.

The long weekend before I started work I went to Cockle Creek, the most southern point in tasmania. A white sand beach with clear water and bloody hot. So perfect to spend the weekend.

I spent an other week on the campsite and found a place to live 2km from my work. But bloody expensive living here. Anyway. I enjoy working again. But not working enough hurts.

An other long weekend came up so I went to Freycinet and Wineglass bay. Then only dirtroads back to Hobart. Beautiful Tasmania is indeed!

I was wondering why my Visa application for my second year here in Australia takes so long. So I double checked and nothing in my status had changed. Still said “waiting for documents” but I have uploaded the documents 6 weeks ago and it said `recieved`. But what I haven´t done was scrolling all the way down and click on submit. Bloody fuckin German!

I was two weeks past the timeframe to submit the documents. So no idea if i will get the visa or not. What a big big bummer. Can forget about my job in Antarctica now since I can´t submit my new visa in time for my application to be concidered. I feel like I screwed up my lifestyle. Make a lot of money in a short time, work as much as you can and then live as long as you can as intence as you can. Feel like a bloody idiot. And there is nothing else to blame then myself.

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Merry Xmas…or is it?

I arrived at Tamaras place in Port Macquarie. I met her in New Zealand about a year ago. We kept in touch over the year and she said that I definetly have to come to Port and see her. We kept in touch and she said that I should come over the summer holidays when she´s off uni so we can go exploring and she invited me to spend Christmas with her and her family what I found quite sweet. So I arrived in Port a week before Christmas and thought to spend january there going exploring and spend time on the beach and see what´s happening. So far so good. But I forgot how cute she was. She is a nice mix between “such a sweetheart” and “bad-ass chick”. She didn´t seem not being interested, either. We went for a few short hikes and drives around since she had to work. But the time we spent was great. She showed me around town and we went to some places she hasn´t been either. It seemed something could turn out – until a day before we left for Christmas when she told me that she actually has a boyfriend. But why invite me for Christmas? And why tell me now and not months ago? She didn´t know and she said she kind of wants to know where that would be going but kind of not.

I thought about packing my stuff and going bush but since she said she kind of wants to see I thought “that´s enough, worth a try and at least no regrets” Over Christmas we went down to Kiama and Wollongong. She was a little flirtyer over Christmas and said things like “I think my dad likes you, he´s usually pretty moody and I haven´t seen him like that in a while, everyone likes you” So we were going the right direction here…

I always find it little weired Christmas in the warm weather. But not bad. I was joking around that I want some snow. So Tamara took me to Jervice Bay, a white sandy beach. As close as it can get to snow. So sweet of her. After I had a little doubt how Christmas would turn out I was actually pretty happy and really happy that Tamara invited me to spend the holidays with her family. Did I mention that she broke up with her boyfriend on Xmas eve? Still going the right way.

Her auntie was proud to tell me she has a postie bike and I said “well that´s cool, brings you through town and from A to B.” Well, the postie bike turned out to be a Ducati X Diavel. Thanks to Tamara and her family I had a great Xmas.

Until we came back to Port. We had a long good talk and it turned out that she doesn´t want anything with anyone what so ever at the moment. That made me a little sad. Well, little bit more then little. I started feeling lost and lonely. But I did understand it. Even though I talked to my family at Xmas and thought “would be nice to be there now” I was not homesick or something. But a day after Xmas and the talk with Tamara a letter from my little brother arrived and that kind of pulled the trigger. Plus my mom sent some pictures from their Xmas at home with the whole family and I started drifting into homesickness plus feeling lost and lonely. I really could have needed some friend and family around me. Things with Tamara were little awkward and since I didn´t tell here that I´m homesick the poor girl thought my sadness and moode was all cause of her. Well she was part of it but by far not all. Didn´t wanna spend january ther anymore, even though I really enjoyed spending time with Tamara. Am I mad at her? Not at all. Am I sad about how things turned out? Shit yeah.

I texted Mike from Sydney what he was up to over New Years cause I had to get out of there. He said “sure, lets meet up, go for a ride and spend new years at Wollombi with some friends of mine” Cool, not alone over new years. So I met up with Mike a day before new years. We were riding for about an hour through the bush. I was front, came over a bump and around a corner and thought “shit! that´s waaay to fast for him” and I couln´t see him anymore. So I turned around and there he was, crashed the bike. Having said that, he started riding motorbikes in march. Poor guy. His knee looked pretty nasty and dirty. So we decided to go to the hospital. Riding slow and steady, just get there. In the hospital he was told that he needs surgery to get all the dirt out and seems like he has an internal injury in his knee as well. So I called his friends in Newcastle, Amy and Steve. Without hasitating Amy said right away “ok, we´re on our way”. So we drove to the next big hospital and started waiting for hours and hours. Mike sent Amy and me home. He was waiting for 10 hours and had a few hours surgery. Poor guy. So we screwed our new years eve plans and spend it together at Amy´s. A cruisy one and not was either of us expected but at least none of us was alone. Great people and new friends.

On new years we drove Mike back to Sydney and spent a while at the beach. Then we went back to Newcastle. I was still lost, no idea what to do or where to go. Didn´t feel like travelling, didn´t feel like working. The girl was spooking around in my head as well. I went for a great ride with Amy. She participated in the 2016 GS Trophy and is a BMW off-road instructor, so she can ride… It was a good ride. Sometimes felt sorry for my bike, but I couln´t let Amy get away from me. When we were back at her place and we were talking with Steve, she said “I´ve never seen anyone ride that hard on an old GS like he does”. Well, if that wasn´t a compliment.

A day later we went for a cruise around town and were playing with the bikes.

Amy and I went for a little camping trip. The Plan was to go down to the Royal natinal park, do a hike and then a little loop and go our ways. Well, plans. Plans never work out. North of Sydney was a bike crash so we helped out. Then to get my clutch cable was a major time thing as well. So we ended up at Mikes at the norther Sydney beaches. Good to have friends everywhere. As always a great time with breakfast at a café on the beach. Life could be sooo much worse. We went over the Harbor Bridge, through Sydney down to the NP to realize that it was just nuts. So many people. Amy had the great idea (again an other one) to go for a hike in a gorge that was about 2hrs away. So we rode up there, pitched the tents and went into the gorge. Absolutely stunning. A steep canyon with giant rock boulders where we had to pick our way through. It took us 3 hours to do about 4km of hiking. Was a good one. The night in the tent was way to hot to sleep. And the way back to the coast was worse, 46°C…again.

The NP had a little less people now. But campsites were full. Amy still found us a place on a site that was booked by two germans in a campervan. Their english wasn´t so good but one of Amy and me luckyly spoke some german (hahaha). We went for the other hike to the figure 8 pool. Was a nice hike and less people then expected.

I had some amazing days with Amy in Newcastle and the little camping trip. That made me happy again and less lost. But still didn´t quite know what I wanna do with myself. Riding helps…

I went down the coast and realized that this was exactly the way we came down for Xmas. The whole day it went “Tamaras grandpa lives up this road, grandma down that one, auntie here and we went up there to the lookout, took this road to Jarvice bay and so on” Was not very pleasent. Then I went up the back roads, up into the mountains. Nice ride. I wanted to see a cave. Stopped and thought “pitch up my tent now and then go caving or first go caving and then pitch up camp? My gear was wet from this sweaty weather so I had a look up, sun and some clouds. So I went caving first. crawled around and heard a “crack” yup, phone was smashed, bend. I left some stuff at the entrance and went through the water into the back of the cave. Absolutely amazing thing to do. Great experiance and all alone in the dark cave. When I came back out half an hour later it as raining. My gear was already wet. Then I thought “ok, lets pitch up camp really quick and as soon as i rolled out my tent it started pooring down with rain and then hail. The thunderstorm was right above me. Everything was wet. Used my cloths to wipe up the water in the tent that came in while i was pitching it up. Then I was sitting in my tent, wet, hungry, couldn´t get to my food cause of the storm and a smashed phone. I was sitting there, smiling. That´s why it´s called adventure…

I went to Cooma, bought a cheap phone and on to Jyndabine, down the amazing Barry Way and up the Great Alpine Road. On the way I went down the mountain, hit the back brake, nothing, hit it again, still nothing. Feels like shit going down a mountain towards a corner and still getting faster. I pushed the bike down around the corner, pulled over and saw that my brake line in the back had a hole. By hitting the back brake so ofter the flud was all over the tire. So I put tape around the brakeline, cleaned up the tire and went slowly down and ended up at Miles, former BMW marketing manager and awesome guy. Was great talking to him about bikestuff and things around motorcycling.

He set me up with a bikeshop in Melbourne that would sneak me in to get a new brake line. Didn´t have the place, nor the apropriate tools and riding without half your brakes is not very safe. So I just had it done instead of doing it myself. They unfortunetly found some more stuff I have to take care off pretty soon. Poor old bike, but hey 220 000km, 180 000km going through all kinds of conditions. What do you expect?!

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Back on the road

Finally, I ended my work in Booleroo Centre at Kelly´s and must say I was not smart enough to leave earlier. The first few months were quite nice, specially on the Bastians Farm but the last 6 weeks were just too much. Wanted to finish my last (again poorly planned from the people in charge) project, but the weather cut it off wich kind of annoyed me a little bit.

At my last day of work we had a BBQ and Cody said “man, I haven´t seen such a big BBQ here in quite a long time…”

thanks Kylie for doing some shit stiring and organizing a big BBQ!

I was raining quite a lot and the dirt roads are always freaking slippery going in and out of the Kelly property. I knew it was going to be today. So I jumped on my bike, started riding slow, the rain and my breath fogged up the visor of the helmet, I took one hand of the handlebar to open the visor to be able to see and in that moment (not even going 20km/h) the front slipped away and I dropped my bike the first time in forever. Luckyly nobody saw it since I had a few beers as well…

So I packed my stuff and went down, back to the Osbornes…where else. Spent a great week down there…as always. I can´t thank this family enough for getting me settled in Australia and everything else around. Kym said “when you´re here it´s always like catching up with your brother…” Then it was time to really hit the road. Out of Victor Harbor down the Corrong towards the Grampians. Spend two days there with beautiful riding and some amazing hikes.

Just about when I was leaving the Grampians the bad weather came in. Rain, sometimes normal, sometimes heavy and thunderstorms. Followed me down to the Great Ocean Road. The first few stops were quite nice but then I came to the 12 Apostles. Same feeling like Macchu Picchu. Since it is advertised everwhere and pictures are everywhere I was standing there and thought “yeah, seen it.” Plus waaaay to many people around. It was still raining, for the rest of the day. The following day I wanted to meet up with Keith, who I met in Bolivia 5 years ago to weld my panniers. I rode towards his place and my bike stopped, was starving. Seemed like no fuel delivery to the injection. I was luckyly on a side road and not on the motorway. It was quite tricky to get in touch with him since my phone got wet and stopped working in the first day of heavy rain. And do you think someone would stop? Not even the people that were living in the house where my bike stopped in front of opend up, and they were home. So I started pulling the tank of to check whats happening. Finally someone stopped and asked what´s happening. He let me use his phone to call Keith. Rain started getting heavier so I decided that there is no point going on, not to screw up more with the water. An other phone call to Keith and he started organizing picking me up, bit hard without a car. The bike stopped at 9am and Keith was there to pick me up with a borrowed car and a trailer at 1pm and he was only 20km away from me. He decided to repair the bike “russian style” as I like to call it: today drink, tomorrow repair! So we ended up going to a pub and a brewery together and I crashed on his couch. The following day we went back to the bike, pulled the fuelpump out of the tank and realized that one fuel hose was loose and was sucking air into the system. Plus the studs to screw the pump back onto the tank were stripped so we had to re-dye them. Done, bike was running again, thanks Keith and Tony!

big thanks to Keith and Tony!

Melbourne is a really cool city. As soon as you get of the main roads you can find all these Allys full of graffity. Plus awesome pubs tucked away in the backstreets and on rooftops. Spent waaaay to much money in the pubs to try the local beer so it was better to leave the town. I went towards the Victorian highcountry. Beautiful, mountaines scenery. But the rain came in again. Not very lucky with the weather lately. I went via Mount Beauty into the high alps and was actually surprised that there are really alpine regions in Australia. It was pretty foggy and rainy and I saw a van parked in a corner with hazard lights on so I luckyly slowed down. When I came around the corner, there was a small tree straight across the road. That would have been pretty bloody bad. Still don´t get why people laugh that I carry a hatchet, it´s just so useful. The whole ride from Melbourne to Sydney was just great.

Had brekky at Deus in Sydney and that made me wanna go back to Martins shop in NZ. Thinking quit often about going back. Sydney is way more in a rush then Melbourne. Stayed up in the northern Suburbs with Mike and we did a pub crawl on the Sunday. Again, spent waaaay to much money on beer. But had a great time. I took the ferry to town wich was quite nice. Spent the day just walking around. The Sydney harbor is very nice but I kind of like the vibe in Melbourne better.

From Sydney I went into the Blue Mountains with all the other tourists and that takes the charm away for me. I went over the top and down the other side to explore from the backside wich was much nicer then the standard tourist stuff. Realized that I enjoy way more, seeing the country how it is away from all the standard attractions. I took the road through the mountains going north, it was a nice ride until i dropped down into the valley. Suddenly the temperature jumped up to 47°C. I was happy when I had my late afternoon snack with 42°C and everything over 40km/h was too hot to ride with open visor.



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Next stop: Australia

Was a little hard leaving NZ and my entrance into Australia was not easy either. My flight left a little late in NZ, when I got to Melbourne we had to wait on the runway. So I lost almost an hour of my layover time in Melbourne towards Adelaide. Ment rushing through immigration, customs and the worst: quarantine. First time ever I was running through an airport. With luck I made it and the closed the airplane door right behind me.

Kym, an other internet date from the Horizons Community picked me up from the airport. As it always is with blind dates, you need a sign. I told him I´m the bold guy with a beard and a big red duffle bag…but my big red duffle bag didn´t make it to Adelaide.

But now worries, all good in the end. We drove down to their beautiful farm at the beach close to Victor Harbor. An absolutely amazing place. Funny that my first stop in Ozzy was at the Osbornes (who gets it? haha)

There were so many Kangoroos around so I wanted one on the BBQ. Thought it might be a good idea to shoot the national animal on my second day of arrival.

I had a rough ETA for my bike and since we had an amazing view over the ozean, Kym said one sunday: “see that container ship there, that´s where your bike is…” I thought he was jokeing but I looked it up and it seriously was the vessle.

Since my bike was here I moved to Sinead and Decland, Kym and Lenore´s kids in Adelaide for two days to get my bike out. Well two days became 10 until everything was sorted out. The longest bike import I ever had. To many bullshit rules and regulations.

But still had a great time at their little house in Glenelg and I guess without the Osborne Family I would have not really liked Australia. Thanks for that!

Rob, who I was riding with in Mongolia set me up with an Engineering shop about three hours north of Adelaide. So basically, I got all the bike stuff sorted by wednesday and started work on monday. How good is that?

Moved up to Booleroo Center where I´m staying on the Bastians farm and enjoy farm life and work after my normal job. Toni loves cooking and I – as many of you know- love eating. I think since I´m here I only had the same meal twice. Good job, Toni!

Did a few trips to the Flinders and up the Oodnatatta track to Dalhousie Springs and the Simpson desert. At first I thought there is not much to see around here but there is lots. Spend a lot of time hiking inthe hills around. My trip into the Outback was interesting. So much nothing, yet lots of things to see. Beautiful colored deserts, old railway stations and a lot of nothing. Camped at Dalhousie Springs and went swimming in the nice hot springs, at night. Floating around looking at the milky way and enjoying life. Life is good.

On the way back I stopped at Coober Pedy, an Opal mining town. Stayed at the only underground camping ground in the world. Fun experiance.

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back in NZ

It was quit nice being in Germany with my family for a while. I actually really liked being back. Maybe because I knew I would be leaving very soon so I was soaking up everything I could. It was a very intense time as well. I ended up working 4 days a week, 2 days more then I was planning on. But I really liked it plus I could spend some time with my uncle.

I visited my brothers in Hamburg and Cologne and drove my granny to the hospital for chemo therapy once a week. A good reason not to go to work and spend time during the day with one grandma and then going for dinner and boardgames to my other grandma. Enjoyed some snowy days and some freaking icy, slippery ones as well. Enjoyed working on my old Golf and enjoyed even more cruising around with it. Enjoyed seeing friends I haven´t seen in years. But the nicest thing was to see my family again.

We had a great family day for my grannys 80th birthday wich was really nice to see the whole family at once. I miss my family…

But by the time I got back to NZ I felt home right away. Bloody Vanessa didn´t want me to work in the shop even though they were flat out. I was hanging out there anyway to keep Martin happy. Was quite surprised that customers came to me and said “hey, happy to see you again. Hope you had a good time in Germany and hope your family is well.” Everyone else involved in the business treated me like family and when I got a bit confused why they said “bro, you´re just part of it, you´re part of the Powehead family…”

Had time to do some repairs on my bike while I was in the shop and did some daytrips to the nice spots i missed when I was was gone. The clock on the bike is showing 200 000+km now. Quite impressive and still running smooth.

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travel New Zealand

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more New Zealand

What is there to tell? Well, I´m not getting bored here, that´s for sure. I went for a ride around the Coromandel Pininsula whitch was quite cool. I took a day off and headed out before sunrise. Nice and curvy roads towards the sun. I stopped and went for a short hike to Cathedral Cove, a very nice little beach about 30min from the road. I enjoyed cruising so much that i didn´t stop often. Just went slow and enjoyed the scenery.

I still love going to work every day. Learning a lot about motorcycles and important lessons for life thanks to Martin, my boss. Doing some cool work like taking the top end of an engine apart to change the gaskets and put everything back together. Or putting some insane monkeybars on bikes. They ride like shit, but the look…well like shit as well.

Some not very nice things happend as well. Someone broke into our garage at home and stole all my roomies powertools and to make it worse, all of Christians stuff. Equipment, gear, campingstuff, tools, etc. I imported his KTM from Japan since he wanted to go back home over christmas. Ment I had to call him and tell him “dude, all your stuff is gone…” Not a very nice phonecall to make. But his answer was cool “maaan, I thought New Zealand is safe…”

Then last Saturday when I walked to the Supermarked there was a girl sitting at the fence on the phone and crying. She was looking on the road like she was waiting for somebody. When I came closer and she saw me, she threw her phone away and ran into the next truck coming down the road. Someone later on told me “that´s what some of them do, they want the attention of others when they kill themself”. If she managed to do it i don´t know. Sad enough that you wanna kill yourself, but do you have to destroy someones elses life as well? The poor truck driver. He told me she was looking him into his face when he ran her over. Poor guy. I realized again that nothing is more important then your physical and mental health. Life is good!

I went for an other cruise to Mount Taranaki and the forgotten world highway. Quite a pleasent ride but I was actually expecting it to be a bit more rugged. I had brilliant sunshine and could camp right half way up the mountain. Beautiful stars out and the view in the morning with all the mist below was not less breathtaking.

Sometimes I´m wondering if people think that i´m on an all inklusive motorcycle holiday. If my bike is not in good conditions I wake up in the morning and there she is, repaired and cleaned up by my dreams at night. (What would I do without my family in germany who are sending me the parts I need to wherever I am???) I just need to hop on and ride into the sunrise. And why don´t you go out and drink, what else are you earning money for? Why do you work 60h/week? Yeah, you´re actually right, riding around the world is free! I had a nice conversation with Martin the other day about lonelyness. He asked me if I ever get lonely. Hell yes. Sometimes. And more and more. There are few people out there I can have a good conversation with. My life is just so different from other people. And I have not been in one place for long since 2009. Just coming and going. Mostly living on the road all by myself. Dealing with problems that come along all myself and enjoying beautiful and nice things all by myself. But this is the path I chose and this is the path i´m happy with. But there are not many people who understand this lifestyle, specially in my age.

I can´t wait to hit the road again!

If you appriciate the small things in life, life can be great.

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One of these normal day things

I thought I should treat myself for my birthday and went to Waitomo. There are a bunch of caves and underground playgrounds for the amateure adventurer. I´m getting more and more the feeling I should have started my travels here in New Zealand. On the way to the cave the guide asked into the group “has anyone ever been caveing before?” I raised my hand “yes, in Guatemala, barefeet, with shorts and a candle in my hand” followed by the answer “well, we´re not doing that here. Here you are getting a wetsuit, boots and a helmet with LEDs”

But the day could have been far worse and was not boring at all. We started up with a 100m abseil which was kind of new for me. I have never been hanging on a thin rope 100m, above the next hard ground but after a few minutes swinging back and forth i got used to it and starte enjoying it. It took about 20min for us to get down into the cave and we arrived in a forgotten world. After a picknick wie started out walk-crawl-hike-swim-climp-out of the cave action. We started our way out over some big rocks, always hooked into the safety line that you don´t dare taking care about yourself. Finally the jump into the 15°C warm water. The wetsuit kept me warm and the gumboots were waterproof, they didn´t let any water out. Somehow the group waited for me to be the first on attacking the obstacle. I craweld through gaps i would have never imagined been able to get through. We dived under Rocks, swem through the river and climed up some waterfalls. All much easier when you are not carrying a candle in your mouth. Through the cave we were guided by some glow worms. Small blue shining worms hanging from the ceiling all over the cave. when you swithed off your LEDs it was like looking in a blue star sky. After about 4hours in the cave and about 7hours in total we arrived back at the little hut where the bbq was waiting for us. Happy and tired I went back to the fuckin city.

Other then that I´m still working 6 days a week which I totally enjoy. I love going to work and learning a lot. Plus I get to ride all kinds of bikes. Since I start at 10am I have time for a nice morning ride to see the sunrise.

On a public holiday I went to a flight show with Jeremy. Was quite cool and impressive.

The end was quite sad when they started playing war on the ground. Uniforms and guns from WWII shooting blinds at each other and playing being killt. Just for fun.

And in europe there are people who had to leave everything behind to escape exactly this. Not for fun…

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The one with the tea

I went for a hike with my mate and we started talking about invitations. i just started talking and was going on for a while. Luckyly Jeremy was not getting bored… I thought this might be interesting to share.

Since I left Germany in January 2012, I was -almost everywhere I went- kindly invited for tea. But Tea is not just Tea! Tea sometimes can mean a lot.

In Uruguay people were running around all day long with a thermos in their armpit, a bowl of mate in the other hand and these people managed their life somehow with one half hand (the hand where the thermos is in the armpit) You see them driving around with one hand, steering and shifting, because in the other hand, there is the bowl of yerba-mate.

Most famous is this tea in Argentina. One barely drinks it alone. And even if there is nobody around, straingers are asked to have a mate “queres un mate?” All of a sudden there is a group of straingers haveing a tea together and talking. Most likely tough, you have it with your friends. But if you think you just sit there together and have a cup of tea then you are mistaking. There is just one bowl with a silver straw in, filled with the yerba herbs. This is filled up with very warm water (not hot!) and the guy inviting pours the water over the yerba and has the first drink. Then he fills it up again and gives it to the next person. The person drinks it and gives it back. He fills it again and gives it to the next one and so on. Don´t thank. If you say thank you when you give the bowl back then it means that you are done with mate. If there is water boiling on a fire, don´t dare touching it. This is for the host only. Only the host is allowed to touch the water, otherwise this would be very impolite.

Leaving Argentina and coming to Bolivia where the Koka tea is to be found everywhere. Yes this is the Koka from the Plant where there is Kakain made out of. The leaves have a very putching effect, good for altitude sickness, headache, stomage ache, evey other kinds of not wellbeing and as well just to enjoy like Coffee.

In Colombia is the Coffee more common then the Tea. Here we are taking a little detour from the Tea and going to the hospitallity in Latinamerica. The nicest straingers invited me for yerba, tea, coffee, a meal, or even a place to stay. Payed my beer, didn´t let me pay for my campsite or giving me the feeling of being part of there family even if just met. I was not allowed to pay anything, do anything or help anything. I had to bagg to do something in return but most of the times I was the guest and treated like a King. People were just happy that they could do something good for me.

This sticks with me sometimes in the wrong places. When I was invited to stay with a friend in North America he payed the food we had at his house, and the beer, and more beer and… do you think after such a long time my head would switch to “now is my time to buy the beer and tonight I am going to cook for you guys because I really appriciate that you invited me”? It unfortunetly wasn´t. then it made click and i was not allowed to do anything anymore because I was staying in a different envoirement. Again, people where giving me everything I needed just in return for some of my stories over a beer. I was even told – more then just once – that this is considered very unfriendly if I would pay for myself, or invite my host for a beer of coffee. I sometimes feel terrible that my friends might have gotten the impression that I am just taking everything and not giving back anything.

The tea in russia has a little the symbol of giving you a well being. You are on the road with your motorcycle and you are invited for a soup and a tea, to gain strength to go on your journey. Again, if you are invited in siberia, don´t even think about paying your own bill. This is seen as bad behaviour and not very kind to the people who were inviting you. We once went out with some friends and I wanted to pay the meal of the mecanic who fixed my electrical problem. He answered something and my friend translated with a big smile “he said something similar to `fuck you`” I obviously was not allowed to pay for myself. Nor was I allowed to reimburs the mechanic for the help.

In central Asia i was invited for Tea everywhere. In the heat of Uzbekistan i was invited to rest and have a Tea. But having a cup of tea is not really just having a cup of tea. Don´t dare touching the Teapot! This is for the Host only! It is up to him serving you. If you finished your tea and wish for more, don´t ask. This is embarrasing and a little offensive to your host. This tells people that he is not very welcoming. Pay attention to your teacup! Is it filled up all the way, then you are welcome to stay for one tea. But don´t finish it. Leave a little sip in the cup for “the way back”. If your teacup is filled half by the host, that means that you can stay longer. They will pour you tea whenever your cup is empty or most of the times even before. If you don´t want more, let your host pour you a fresh cup, take a sip and say thank you. That means that the host has served you well. The rest in your cup is again “for the way back”. That there always will be tea if you come back one day. In parts of Kyrgystan and Mongolia tea is topped up with maresmilk. But if you are invited for a tea and you exept the offer then it is very rude and offensive if you don´t drink your tea because the maresmilk discusses you. It took me some invitations to get used to the – let´s say – different tasteing milk. In Kyrgystan, it is common to welcome a guest with fermented mares milk. The first time that happend to me i was luckyly in a Hostel with an incredible nice and helpful owner who tought me the story behind it. If i would have being invited to a house and would have thought that the white stuff in the cup is normal milk i might have gotten into trouble with the host. In some countries it is even important what tea you choose when you are asked if black or green tea. Green tea, with it´s relaxing effect means that you are tired and would like to calm down and chill out after tea, Black tea with it´s pushing effect means that you would like to stay around for a bit longer and are active to do things.

Again unbelieveble experiances of being a gues in russia and central asia.

And off we go to Japan. Where I had the pleasure and enjoyment of being hosted by a great family in the north. I was tought a lot of the japanes habbits and as well how to recieve a tea. Tea mostly comes in bowls, not in cups. It is polite to recieve your bowl of tea with two hands. Hold your two hands up and the bowl of tea is placed by your servant (not nessesarly your host) into your hands. If you just would hold up one hand it would mean something like “yeah, alright, don´t really care…”

In japan I was invited for tea all over the country and had one amazing experiance of staying on a teafarm for a night. In the Mountains when i stopped in a town to fill up or have a look at my map most of the times I recieved a tea to enjoy. I barely could have a conversation with these people but the act of giving me a cup of tea was impressive.

I´m a little excited to see how many more storys about tea i might be able to tell in the future.

Categories: Allgemein | 1 Comment

More from New Zealand

Long, long time ago… I was updating my blog way more often.

It feels a bit weired to be in one place for such a long time. I enjoy every day going to work, working on motorcycles and learning new stuff. Martin, my boss is absolutely great at explaining things, and so is Jeremy. Coincedently I realized that my way to work, from door to door, takes as long as Led Zepplins “stairway to heaven”.

We went to the Speedway together, had a little picnick and watched motorcycles and sidecars drifting around the oval. Sounds boring but is a lot of fun.

Over easter weekend i went up to the northern tip of New Zealand, to the place where Pacific and Tasman Sea join. The ride was beautiful, as long as i was staying on the backroads. On the main highway and left and right of it there are just way to many tourists. Everything seems a bit plastik.

I went to the big Kauri forrest and the way through it looks like a jungle. Then i turned to 90mile beach where i met two chicks on dirtbikes. I was a bit pissed that i have stupid roadtyres on my bike. Most of New Zealands west coast beaches are designated highways. Plus i could go and play with the girls…

One of them showed me a neat place to camp and me stupid idiot forgot to take a photo of the girls dirty hand with pink fingernails pointing on my map.

It was definetly the wrong time to go to Cape Reinga since way to many people had the same idea over the easter weekend.

New Zealand has absolutely stunnin roads. Beautiful landscapes and just a paradise for motorcyclists.

In the end of april i went around the eastcape of New Zealand. An other stunnin ride. Monday was a public holiday here and i was thinking about taking off sunday. Martin said “no, leave monday and come back when ever you want. I know you, you wouln´t enjoy it if there would be too many other people around” He was damn right. I left monday and everybody else was going back home. A stunnin road winding along the ocean for hundreds of kilometers. I camped out at the beach close to the east cape and belive it or not but accoring to my position I was one of the first people in the world seeing the new days sun. The only places that are further east are Samoa and Tonga…but nobody lives there anyway. But that made me thinking about going to Samoa or Tonga.

I followed the road to Gisborne where captain Cook landed first in NZ. Then i took the little, absolutely stunnin backroads up north to Rotorua. The little backroad north of Gisborne reminded me a bit to the area around Bozeman, Montana. The Te Urewa road looked like Columbia. If you have to choose one country to see the world, go to New Zealand!

After all the less traveled roads i got to Rotorua. A parking lot full of Motorhomes with german New Zealand guidebooks on the desk. The germans are here, like everywhere else in the world. They are taking over. I started again telling people that i´m from Kazakstan. I used to tell people that i´m from Namibia…until i met somebody who was actualy from there. That was embarrasing but he laughed and totally understood my point.

It is absolutely beautiful but for me, there is some thrill missing. No dangerous animals at all, really good roads, great infrastructure. Most people would call it paradise, but i´m getting bored from time to time. I need a kick here and there. I´m not haveing a chicken strip at all on my beemer (the chickenstrip is the part on the far edges of the tyre that is not used by unexperianced riders or chicken. Since the whole tyre is heating up while being used, the far edges stay a bit whit-ish and shiny, that is the chickenstrip). On these roads it´s just great to lean the beemer so far over that my pegs scratch the road.

Categories: Allgemein | 2 Comments

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