So what is it like to travel around this part of the world by motorcycle? This is a question we have been asked many times since we left a little over three months ago. The best way to describe it is to share with you a typical day. In a nutshell, it goes something like this:
You decide that tomorrow is the day you will leave the beach/city center/village/campground/mosquito infested, bedbug plagued, noisy, dirty, cold water only guesthouse in the middle of nowhere you had called “home” for a day/days/weeks and resolve to wake bright and early at 6 am so you could be on the road at 6:30. At 3:00am you are awaken by the chronologically challenged rooster that has decided that yes, it is indeed time for the human inhabitants to wake up. Not wanting to be the one rooster that has slept in late all the other roosters start up until slowly, one by one, they realize that rooster number one needs either a veterinarian or a date with the butcher and everybody quiets down. You are of course awaken by all this and take a few moments to count the number of mosquito bites you have collected since you went to sleep a few hours ago. The similarity of doing this with the act of counting sheep is striking and you quickly fade back into sleep. Since you did not set the alarm clock the previous night (it could be argued that this was intentional) you awake at 7:00 and quickly decide that the ride planned for the day is not as long as you had originally calculated and you fall back asleep. At 8:00 your partner decides that you must get out of bed and you proceed to do so (if you are traveling alone you get another hour to sleep in). Once you have had breakfast, loaded up your bike and checked tire pressure and oil level you are ready to go. It is now 9:30 but that is OK, you are sure the roads will be good today and that you will be able to make up the lost time (damn rooster!).
Surrounded by a few locals curious to see what a big BMW sounds like you say goodbye to the small crowd, press the start button and nothing happens. You look down and notice that the side stand is still down thus activating the kill switch so you bring the side stand back up (after 3 months of this little routine it is now almost a ritual, I must be getting older or something). You get the bike started, turn on the GPS (not a critical thing to have but it has lots of buttons and is fun to look at) and release the clutch. If you are lucky, you left it in first gear the last time you used it. If not, you wince while the engine groans due to lack of power because you are trying to get going in second gear. You finally get some momentum going and are immediately taken aback by how much the bike weights. You resolve to get rid of some excess weight but quickly decide that you love your wife too much. Besides, she lets you do stupid things like buying a GPS with lots of buttons.
You get to the gas station outside of town and fill up (who knows when the next one will be?). Off you go down the interstate/highway/road/dirt track towards you next destination. If you have gotten this far into your day things get easier. From the drivers perspective it almost becomes routine. You zip along at 100/80/60/10 kilometers per hour and stay focused on the road which to you looks something like this; road, road, road, POTHOLE (whew, that was close), road, road, road, road, road, road, COW! (don’t they lock these things up!!!), road, road, road, road, ROOSTER (damn, just missed him!) road, road, road, road, SMALL CHILD ON BICYCLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD REALLY NOT AWARE OF HIS SURROUNDINGS, road, road, road. You get the picture.
After 2/4/10 hours of driving bliss/boredom/hell you get to your destination. The only thing that remains to put an end to your driving day is making sure you are at the place you are looking for. So you pull over and ask the slightly astonished old man/child/nice policeman holding the AK-47, the only thing you really want to know: “Do any roosters live in this village?”