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May 24th, 2011 | Asia

K.L., and the return of D.D. …

I had intended on getting an early start for Kuala Lumpur, but saying my goodbyes to Rory had taken longer than expected…!! I cruised out of his condo at a little after 9.00am, and pointed the Big Fella’s nose north… With three lanes of highway to play on, he pinned his mirrors back and took off for Kuala Lumpur…

I was heading for a company called Curio Packing, on the east side of the city, where Trevor had his bike crated a few days previously… We were using the same freight company, Clasquin, who had provided us both with the most acceptable quotes… Both Trevor and Chenty, as well as their bike, were due to fly to Perth this same evening, while I was hoping to get the Big Fella on a flight to Bali as soon as possible, preferably before the weekend…

The 350 km ride to the capital was made in good time, a little over three hours, including a rest stop somewhere along the highway, where I emptied the remainder of my spare fuel into the Big Fellas tank, and hoped it would take me all the way to my destination…

Negotiating the tricky highways of K.L. is no easy matter, but with Trevor's co-ordinates, we found the warehouse we were heading for without any difficulty...

As it turned out, despite having been a bit heavy on the throttle, we managed to get to the warehouse just before the usual “throat-clearing” noises the Big Fella usually made, to indicate that thirst was fast becoming a problem…!! We also avoided the heavy rain that fell over the area just minutes after I had dismounted and greeted Ivor Ting, the Clasquin representative who was there to meet me…

Having now done this a time or two, getting the Big Fella stripped down for crating was a piece of cake...

With the help of the Curio Pack team, we had the bike stripped down and ready to be crated in a short space of time… They all knew exactly what was required, having worked with Trevor on Big Red only days before…

The Curio Pack team gather round for a group photo... Great job, Guys...!!

The crate that had been built in preparation for my arrival, was about as strong and robust a crate as you could hope for… It was also too big, which made me wonder if the Volume Metric Weight that I had been quoted would now make the bike more expensive to fly…!!

With all my gear packed tightly around the bike, the guys then proceeded to strap everything down, securing the entire ensemble to the pallet it stood on…

All packed up with some place to go...

I had handed my camera to Ivor and asked him to snap away while we worked, and once the bike was firmly tied to the pallet, the guys wanted me to pose with it… They whipped out their cell phones and their manager even came out with an old SLR  camera to take a few shots…

Thinking that we were all done, I was happy to pose for photos taken with my precious companion...

Just when I thought they were finished, out came a roll of bubble-wrap, which they began to cover everything with…

“This is overkill times two, Boys,” I said, looking on in amazement…

But they were still not finished…!! Another guy strode up with a roll of cling-film, and walked around the bike at least a dozen times, almost smothering the Big Fella…!!

Then the final wrapping began...!! And went on for a while...!!

"Excuse me for asking, but how the hell I am supposed to breathe with all this stuff wrapped around me...??" I was wondering when he would begin to get a little "testy"...!!

With the lid nailed shut, and the Big Fella’s protests abruptly cut off, we labelled the crate and began sorting through the various documents that the authorities would be needing… Carnet du Passage, Registration Certificate, International Driver’s License, and a copy of my Passport… That done, we were ready to roll…

Labeling complete, the Big Fella was finally good to go... He insisted we add his name so the guys in Indonesia knew who they were dealing with...!!

It had all gone swimmingly up to this point…

Ivor Ting of Casquin stands with Carnet in hand, ready to do battle with Customs...

The crating had been dome as professionally as anybody could have wanted; the guys at Curio Pack had been friendly and helpful, and Ivor had answers for all the questions I asked…

After being wished a safe and pleasant journey by the crating team, Ivor took me for a quick bite to eat, and took the time to show me where I could buy a phone-charger to replace the one that I had left in Rory’s office…

Then we went across town to the offices of Clasquin, where I was greeted by Mrs. Yep, who had handled the quotation for the freighting of my bike… I was escorted to their boardroom, handed a glass of cold water that I had requested, and asked to wait while my documents were prepared…

Half an hour later, I was beginning to fidget… To ward off the boredom, I had already written a few messages on the company bulletin board secured to the wall, advising that the Gypsy Biker had been there…

Finally Mrs Yep entered the room, and nervously began apologising for keeping me waiting… She then went on to explain that the quote she had provided me with was no longer valid, as the airline had just informed her that the aircraft they were now using could not accommodate such a large crate…!!

She had made contact with another airline, who had quoted her nearly double the rate we had agreed upon…!! I looked at her incredulously, my mouth hanging open in shock…!! It was already costing a small fortune to fly the bike to Bali (about $1450.00…!!) and this price had just gone up to something approaching $2500.00…!! That was as much as Trevor had paid to fly all the way to Australia…!!

To say that I was annoyed was an understatement…!! In fact, it not only awakened the goat, but reached into that dark place where he resides, and gave his testicles a good hard squeeze…!! And that my friends, is enough to annoy any goat…!!

The air turned blue while I explained in the most colourful of terms that I was not prepared to accept this sudden change of price, and would rather ride back to Johor Bahru or even up to Bangkok if necessary, rather than accept what I thought was a rip-off…!!

Clasquin's service was as professional as any I had encountered in Malaysia...

I slammed my cell phone down in front of her, and suggested she get the manager of the airline on the line, so that I could give them a piece of my mind while the mood was upon me…!!

Mrs. Yep’s stammered apologies fell on deaf ears while I ranted…

“Take me back to the warehouse so that I can un-crate my bike and get the hell out of here…!!” thundered the Dark Destroyer…

She asked me to wait a few minutes more and made a hurried exit… Another glass of cold water materialised while I paced up and down, making frantic calls to Rory and Trevor to vent off the steam that was threatening to lift the top of my skull off…

After a long wait while I regretted having stopped smoking, as I was in desperate need of something to calm my nerves, Mrs. Yep returned with some good news… She had been in touch with yet another airline, Geruda of Indonesia, who had agreed to fly the bike at the original rate she had quoted, but the larger crate size meant that the overall cost had increased by about $200.00… She nervously waited while I digested these additional costs…

Although I found them unpalatable, I realised that I had little choice but to accept them… I had ridden all the way from J.B. ; I was hot, sweaty and weary; the bike was already crated, and turning it all around now was a hassle that I would rather not go through…

As we finalized the new deal I felt my blood pressure slowly drop back to somewhere close to normal, while the Dark Destroyer went back to his grotto… His work done, he could retire once again…!!

I also realised that it was no fault of Mrs. Yep’s or Clasquin, that the airlines had changed their scheduled aircraft, but had I not kicked up a fuss, I would have had to part with far more money than was reasonable to get the bike to Indonesia…

Half an hour later, having handed over $1000.00 in cash as a deposit, we were all on our way back into the city, where I hurriedly checked into the Comfort Inn while Ivor and Mrs. Yep waited in the car, and then we went around the block to the Radius Hotel to meet with two suspiciously familiar people, who joined us for dinner at an outdoor restaurant nearby…

After settling our differences, we were joined for dinner by two suspiciously familar faces...!!

We sat under the boughs of a large tree, that dripped both leaves and furry little green caterpillars, while we ate our way through a variety of dishes ordered for us by our hosts…

The plastic table sagged under the weight of the food and drinks set before us...

Over dinner, Trevor related how his laptop had been stolen out of their room while they were out for a walk the previous evening… One of the security guards employed by the Radius Hotel, was caught on CCTV entering their room and leaving with the laptop tucked into his trousers…. Bastard…!!

The hotel management had been less than co-operative when faced with this problem, and Trevor had to insist on calling in the police to get things moving in the right direction… Needless to say, the guard did not report for duty today, and any chance of getting his laptop back have disappeared with him…  Bastard…!!

Luckily Trevor had backed up all his photos and video onto an external hard-drive that I had encouraged him to buy while we were in Cambodia, and the thief had left the drive behind, even though it had been plugged into the laptop when Trevor left the room…

With his stamped Carnet in hand, and tickets to Australia in pocket, Trevor, Chenty and I bid Ivor and Mrs. Yep goodbye, and then went across the road to the Whiskey Cellar, to have a final drink together… We sipped quietly on our Jameson’s until Chenty called, “Time…!!”, and then hailed a taxi that would take them to the airport…

Trevor and I enjoy a Jameson's before their taxi whisked them off to the airport...

“We can’t go on saying goodbye like this…!!” I quipped, as we hugged and kissed again… This was the fourth time we were doing so since Syria back in December…!!

“Catch up to us in Australia…!!” Trevor said as he stepped into the taxi…

“Yeah, right…!! At the speeds we ride, when we ride, that’s just not going to be possible, my friend…!!”

I blew a final kiss to Chenty as the taxi pulled away from the curb, and took them out into the dark of the night…

Back at the Comfort Inn, I discovered that the room allocated to me was anything but comfortable…!! It was hardly big enough to swing a cat in, even a small cat…!! (Not that I am in the habit of swinging cats, mind you…!!)

Luckily I do not have all my gear with me...!!

A chain-smoker had either just left the room, or was still hiding in the tiny bathroom…!! Apart from the lobby and the 1st floor, there was no internet signal, and this being the only room available on the 1st floor, I had little choice but to accept it…!!

But at least it has given me a chance to write a few posts while I wait for Ivor to deliver my Carnet, and the Bill of Lading to confirm that the Big Fella is on his way to Indonesia…  With that in hand, I can book my own flight to Bali to visit the second to last of the Asian countries I will ride in…

©GBWT 2011

4 comments to K.L., and the return of D.D. …

  • Mark Behr

    Wow – I think you handled that well. I would have been furious.
    Nice that you got to catch up with friends again. Travel safely to Bali. Watch your bags – people love putting things in them and having you arrested. 20 years in a Bali prison is no fun, I believe.

  • Penny and Neil Burgess

    Hey Ronnie, hi! Just been chatting to Guy and have heard about your big adventure. We’ll be in lombok in 5 weeks would love to see you. Or when you come to Australia, we live in Grafton, northern NSW. Love reading your blogs. email us, we’d love to catch up. penny

  • Penny….!! It’s been a very long time…!! Hope all well with you guys…!! Lombok in five weeks…. Mmmm….will I ever get out of Asia…?? I have just landed in Bali, and will be here for a few weeks, then out to Java, and turning around and heading towards Lombok… Might just work out… Will see how things go and keep you updated, otherwise, count on me visiting Grafton…!! R.

  • ramesh rijal

    hey my dear friend, how are you? are you still in your world tour? where are u? i am your friend when you were in nepal,the way of kathmandu, did you remembered that moment, we follow you regularly. we take also some photo with u. ok have a nice interesting journey……

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