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Hot News December 2006   (Jakarta / Indonesia, December 8, 2006)

 
Website statistics: In November, we were able to welcome on our website 30'324 visitors who did 694'657 hits.
                                           (October = 30'118 visitors ??? countries* 681'407 hits)
                                Record days since 12/17/1998 - the birthday of our website: March 20, 1'474 visitors; August 29, 47'038 hits
                      (*= the country counter, which stopped working March 23, 2006, has still not been repaired by the
                              ISP Goldnet - frustrating! - usually there were monthly between 100 and 118 different countries!)
                   
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On November 18th, 2006, we entered without any problems the Indonesian province of Kalimantan on the Island of
Borneo at the overland road crossing in Entikong, coming from the East-Malaysian state of Sarawak. Indonesia
became our 155th country. 200 miles later, we arrived at the port city of Pontianak, lying exactly on the
Equator, where we started immediately to look for a ferry for our continuation - either to Sumatra or Java. On
November 21st, it was time to say good-bye to Borneo. With about a dozen of trucks and two passenger cars, as
well as around 400 passengers on board, the vessel "M/L Farina Nusantara" of the "Prima Vista" company set
sail at midnight for the 38 hours trip to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on the island of Java. Unfortunately, this
destination became our target, as only very irregularly ships are leaving directly to Sumatra, and our two-months
Indonesian visa doesn't allow any extended stay in the not-at-all very interesting city of Pontianak.
 
When we intended to occupy our reserved "cabin", we realized astonishingly that not only our places have already
been taken, but that there are also 82 other passengers in the same sleeping room – thus privacy wasn't
anymore guaranteed. As the only "westerners", say "white" passengers on board, the attraction was perfect. But
as times go by, everything is calming down - people get obviously adjusted very quickly to sensations. The very
nice Indonesian co-passengers got accustomed to our presence and we found the atmosphere on board very
lively, interesting and amusing, even if a little unusual though – in short: a new experience! Saying this, the
breakfast was served in styropor boxes to the "bed" – of course prepared in Indonesian style: rice, some chicken
and vegetables.
 
After a very quiet crossing of about 470 miles of sea, the vessel berthed in the 10-million-mega-city of Jakarta – exactly
at the port of Tanjung Priok. Not having left actually the harbor area, we got already stuck in the notorious whole-day line-up
of cars, which becomes worse everywhere - a global issue. But in Jakarta it differs in that way that in this
region one gets nearly poisoned to the incredible exhaust of all kind of vehicles. Observing how
often and how much the Indonesians are smoking additionally, it's no wonder that the life expectancy is rather low
(69 years in 2003).
 
On Monday, November 27th, we decided to continue to Sumatra. Already leaving the city of Jakarta, we
experienced a reduction of passenger cars, but an immense increase of trucks. The car ferry was completely full,
and after 2 hours of sailing, we reached the Island of Sumatra. Spending the first night in Kalianda near the
southernmost tip – not far from the center of the explosion where the Krakatau volcano blew up in 1883 –, we
continued the next day direction Bukittingi, Lake Toba and Medan. But soon after, it happened: In Bandar Lampung,
52 miles after the ferry terminal – it crashed and rumbled in the rear. Checking showed that the interior of the rear
differential seemed to have disintegrated. The consequence was that we had to dismantle the rear drive shaft and
have the car powered by the front wheels.
 
Alone  those 52 miles in Sumatra showed that – due to the immense truck traffic – driving was only in line with
a very rare possibility of passing by. And once one of these overloaded and fuming truck was overtaken, there were
hundreds or thousands more ahead  – all with the same black polluting exhaust. Furthermore, the roads are so
narrow that already passing a scooter is nearly impossible. The many potholes are actually just a side-effect - hitting
them and hoping for the best was the only way!
 
Some when, we came to the conclusion that firstly the differential had to be repaired   – even if continuing to drive showed
to be possible in a case of emergency  – and secondly that these driving conditions don't make any fun at all, particularly
taking into account that another 2'500 of the same terrible miles (return) are ahead of us. Result: We return to the ferry
terminal and back to the capital to search for spare parts. Hence our Sumatra-trip ends already after totally 132 miles, -
not at all what we intended to do.
 
 
 
Kalimantan/Indonesia (Borneo): Equator-Monument at Pontianak
 
 
Unfortunately, we had to realize once more that finding spare parts for "elderly" cars poses the longer the more a big
problem. As already experienced with the pistons for the engine during our "general-overhaul", the probability to
find parts for the differential is getting slimmer every day. Some might be found still at Toyota Motor Corporation in
Japan, but to receive such a "goodie" involves a delivery time of at least 2-3 weeks and a hefty surcharge for "airfreight",
i.e. "emergency". It is well known that stock keeping is big money (interest, space), but simultaneously, it  is shown
pretty clearly to the customer that he is driving around with an outdated vehicle, which actually should be replaced. Finding
"our" part may mean that we will  have to divert to the kind of questionable generic parts market.
Therefore, please check from time to time the progress of our "Indonesia-Trip" on our pictured site!
 

New Reports/Pictures

SOUTHEASTASIA:                                      mouse over picture shows comments
                     click a picture to see details

 

Brunei
(Sept. 2006)
 
Brunei (Borneo): ’The 'Ali Saifuddien'-Mosque at sunset in Bandar Seri Begawan
Sarawak/East-Malaysia
(Island of Borneo)
(June - Aug. 2006)

Miri/Sarawak/East-Malaysia (Borneo): Traditional stilt houses reflecting in the water of the Miri River

Myanmar
(May 2006)
 
Myanmar: Waiting for customers in Kawthoung
Thailand
Temples, Pagodas, Shrines 

Thailand
People, Beaches, Nature

(Nov. 1993 - Jan. 1994)
(Nov. - Dec. 2005)
(Febr. - April 2006)
Thailand: Ho Phra I-Suan Temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Laos

(February 2006)

Laos: The ’Patuxai’, the Laotian replica of the French ’Arc de Triomphe’ in Paris

Vietnam

(January 2006)
Vietnam: Two women cultivating a rice field

Cambodia

(December 2005)

Cambodia: The main temple of Angkor Wat with its five towers viewed from the hill of the ’Phnom Bakheng’ - Temple

Malaysia

(Oct. - Nov. 2005)
Malaysia: The four minarets of the ’Sultan Salahuddin’ State Mosque in Shah Alam are visible already from far

Singapore

(September 2005)

Singapore: High-rise buildings pop up everywhere - here behind the Parliament House

Macao

(September 2005)

Macao: The ’St. Paul’ ruin is an inspiring sight also at night

Hong Kong

(September 2005)

 

Hong Kong:From ’Hong Kong Peak’ we get an excellent view of the ’skyscraper jungle’
+ our Indonesia Trip

Sumatra, Java, Bali, Nusa Tenggara – Dez. 2006 -.......

+ our Borneo Trip

Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah, Kalimantan – Sept.-Nov. 2006

+ our LandCruiser on a "Rejuvenation Cure"

in Miri/Sarawak - the East Malaysian province on Borneo June-Aug. 2006

+ added from a earlier visit to the USA:

Las Vegas    (Millennium change)

+ added from our Arabian Peninsula round trip:

Pictures from Yemen (May-June 1996)

+ Flashbacks of our Worldrecordtour:

Pictures from "all the continents" (Oct. 1984 - April 1997)

+ Follow-ups about Toyota-Experiences:
Encounters resp. "Ups + Downs" with
Toyota Companies since 1982
On July 7th, 2005, we were able to celebrate after a journey through 150 countries the car's
600'000th Kilometer - very prosaic in front of the post office in Cayenne/French Guiana.
Are you interested into the LandCruiser History, prepared by Toyota Motor Sales USA and taken over by
Toyota Motor United Kingdom? (after some loading-time please klick "IN LEGEND" and afterwards "HAIR TO MAGELLAN
- and you will see that we already belong to it too!)

 

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