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February 1st, 2011 | Asia

Back in the Box…!!

I arrived at the Super Express warehouse shortly before midday, having unpacked and repacked my gear the previous evening…

"Heeeey.....!! Wait a minute...!! I recognise this place....!!" With his keys safely in my pocket, the Big Fella realises it's too late to make a dash for the door...!!

Santos and his team of assistants were there to meet me, and within minutes, we had the Big Fella on the base pallet and ready to be dis-assembled…

After a few initial grumbles, he subsided into a sullen silence, while I removed the brake calipers, front wheel and windshield…

"Is this really necessary...?? Why can't you disguise yourself as an Arab so we can ride around...!!"

Snug and tight...!! My gear gets loaded onto the pallet and secured...

All done and ready for the crate...

We packed all my gear around the bike, secured it to the pallet, and then assembled the crate on the pallet…

Having done this before, I was now far more relaxed than I had been in Amman, and it took barely an hour of unhurried work to get to the point where the loosely fitted lid came down and consigned the Big Fella to complete darkness, but not before I patted him gently and told him I’d see him in India…

I took his lack of any meaningful response as a sign that he had resigned himself to the indignity of being crated again, and signaled Santos to “batten it down”…

A forlorn looking Big Fella, resigns himself to another bout of enforced darkness...

With only the lid left to attach, I bid my companion goodbye...

The crate was due to be inspected by Customs before they could release it to the airline, so only a minimum of screws were used to secure the lid…

I joined Eldho in his office and together we discussed the various documents he required to affect the shipping of my precious companion…

Costs were calculated based on the size of crate and this meant that the actual freighting came to $1 250.00… Super Express’s charges totaled approximately $550.00, and included:

Documentation

Police Clearance Certificate

Repacking and Labour

Transport to the airport,

Airport Handling and Documentation, and

Super Express’s Service Fee…

We checked the booking details and I discovered that the bike would reach Delhi on the 6th of February, and would be routed via Kuwait…!!

I was none too happy with this, but Eldho explained that a direct flight on Emirate would cost almost double, $4.00 per kg as opposed to the $2.20 per kg that I was quoted…

I had to satisfy myself with Eldho’s assurance that the bike would arrive as scheduled and that I needn’t be concerned by the trans-shipment…

I handed the Carnet documents over, praying that they would not get lost, emphasizing again to Eldho how important they were to me and the continued success of my journey…

At this point I must thank Eldho and his team for the friendly and professional services that they rendered, and have no qualms about recommending them to any folk who require shipment of their goods to and from Dubai…

Eldho came out to put his final seal of approval on the crate... And as you can see, this time, I had the keys safely around my neck...!!

Booking my own flight proved a touch problematic…

The travel agent informed me that I would need to purchase a return ticket, unless I could produce evidence that I was either employed in India, or was a permanent resident of that country…

It took me a while to convince him that I was indeed traveling around the world on my bike, and that I had no intention whatsoever of staying in India longer than my visa allowed…!!

I paid the required $230.00, and was told that the airline might well demand that I pay for a return ticket at the airport…

Another bit of stress I have to deal with…!!

Back at my hotel, I prepared yet another parcel of maps and other paraphernalia that I no longer required, and went down to the local post office to have the bulky envelope sent home…

The Dubai Shopping Festival was just kicking off, and the streets of the souk were crowded with even more people than usual, if that was possible…!!

Large bundles of clothing, cartons of electric goods and crates of toys were being lugged onto the pavements to be sent to the airport, by what mostly seemed to be people of African descent…

I met and spoke to Kenyans, Sudanese, Ugandans, Angolans and a pair of Ethiopian women, who came up to me and without preamble, asked where my bike was…!!

“How do you know I have a bike…??”

“We saw you arrive yesterday and I wanted to show my friend the flags on your boxes…” the older one said…

“Ah… Well, my bike is in a box on the way to the airport… I am flying to India soon…” I replied…

“It must be a very big box…!!” she said with a smile… “Good luck, and don’t forget to go back and visit our country again…!!”

Despite the late hour, the streets of Dubai remain busy...

Later that evening, I stood out on the balcony of my room, watching the hustle and bustle below me… Most of the stores on this the main road that ran through the Sabkah district, were still open, and doing a roaring trade…

I thought about India, and the short time I had before my visa expired on the 19th… With the warnings about the conditions I should expect there running around in my brain, I sat down and began planning routes that would get me to the Nepalese border a day or two before I had to exit India…

I have been warned that if anything could go wrong, then India was the place where that would happen…!!

I would have a few days to spare in Delhi while I waited for the Big Fella to be released, and hoped that this would give me a fair idea of what to expect, once I was ready to explore the roads that are otherwise termed “death-traps” in this the second most populous country in the world…

©GBWT 2011

1 comment to Back in the Box…!!

  • Mark Behr

    Ronnie, our church sends teams to India every year. Not much ever goes wrong … EXCEPT … with their health ! Everyone gets really bad stomache cramps and the resultant toilet visits that come with that – they have nicknamed it Delhi-Belly. So … watch where you eat and what. Travel safely !

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