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News Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010   (Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia, January 28, 2010)

Website statistics:   In December we were able to welcome on our website 38'469 visitors who did 1'308'768 hits.
                                          (November = 40'458 visitors 1'429'382 Hits / October = 46'467 visitors 1'596'484 Hits)
                                  The visitors are coming from about 164 different countries!
                                  Record day since 12/17/1998 = the birthday of our website: on 11/5/2007 = 13'407 visitors and 787'456 hits
After 2½ months in one of the last "real" kingdoms of the world (rec. in News November 2009) – in Tonga in the Pacific – we
are back in Asia for the 8th time and that without our vehicle (yet) in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. When we left the
"Friendly Islands" on January 21st, 2010, with the budget airline 'Pacific Blue' in direction Sydney in Australia, our LandCruiser
was loaded two days later in Nuku'alofa onto the vessel 'South Islander II' of the 'Greater Bali Hai' shipping line. At first it will be
shipped in its 18th container via New Caledonia to Taiwan. However, before it reaches there the port of Kaohsiung, we have to
know definitely whether Papua New Guinea is letting our car into the country – our second attempt didn't yield fruits up to now
in every particular issue. If the remaining points are not solved until February 5th, 2010, we will have to redirect the container to
another port of destination.
A few hours later we left Sydney with the low cost carrier 'Virgin Blue' for Gold Coast, from where we flew with AirAsia, the
best known and biggest low fare airline in Asia, to Malaysia. And it was high time for Liliana's leg! On December 14th, 2009,
she was bitten in Tonga by a dog so badly that we had to rush immediately to the emergency room of the Vaiola hospital in
Nuku'alofa. With it, the problems grew even more. The Tongan woman doctor sutured the bite negligently and improperly after
24 hours (!), without cleaning and disinfecting it correctly beforehand. This led to the fact that nine days later – when the stitches
had to be removed – the leg had become so much infected and inflamed that we intended to fly out to New Zealand. But shortly
before, on December 24th, 2009, we found with the help of expatriates a French-New Caledonian doctor who worked as a
replacement in a small private Mission Clinic. Coincidentally he was even a dermatological surgeon. First of all he had to operate
on the leg and remove at the same time the remaining dirt and some stitchings left behind. Had this scandalous negligence of a
hospital happened in another country, e.g. the USA, suing them for compensation wouldn't have posed any difficulty. Somehow
it looks that Liliana is accident-prone at Christmas time. Thus she was hit four years ago on December 25th, 2005, at the
Mekong ferry in Cambodia by a car driver what caused a fracture of the leg, which showed to be really annoying and obstructive
during our journey's continuation through Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
Even if we had unbelievable luck in finding this doctor – Liliana could have lost her leg without further ado, because the
inflammation had reached an advanced stage – the streak of bad luck didn't want to end: Not only that it's nearly impossible to
find adequate medicine, but the police stopped Emil on December 28th, 2009, after 55 days in the country (!) highhandedly
and wanted to confiscate the car. The reason: Only the King and the Diplomats are allowed to drive around with a "foreign
license plate", although the Ministry of Tourism gave us "green light" for an entrance in Tonga. Sharp tongues deemed that the
officer was looking for some beer money for New Year's Eve, but Emil didn't get along (unfortunately?). It's not beside the point,
as this country comes in on position 100 in the 'Transparency International Index 2009', which addresses the worldwide
corruption. Considering that motoring in Tonga nearly has "no limits", e.g. driving without wearing seatbelts - motorbikers without
helmets - kids and babies on the front seats, even on the knees of the driver - phoning while driving - driving without insurance,
this assumption isn't far out. By the way: Most of the vehicles are falling apart due the heavy rust (the haze of the sea is all over the
island); if there was a technical vehicle inspection in Tonga like in Western countries, the island would be free of traffic. But
obviously driving with a foreign license plate is an offense, though we had a temporary "permit" to do so.
All's well that ends well? Not really: Indeed, the driving ban was lifted after 11 days – it's as simple as that: By phone, without
any paper – probably it was just a "mistake". Apparently the Minister of Tourism agreed with the Minister of Police that we
create actually no risk in the whole traffic. However Liliana's wound worsened suddenly again after an initial improvement. The
tropical climate isn't very beneficial for an efficient healing. Therefore, we were overjoyed to board the plane to arrive soon in a
country with a better medical care: Malaysia.

For the moment, we left the Pacific. Retrospectively, Tahiti with Moorea was so far the climax, followed by both of the Samoa's:
Samoa and American Samoa – we wouldn't visit again Tonga. But we have to stress that it wasn't just the two unlovely incidents
– the dog bite with the completely failing hospital and the arbitrary driving ban – which left a bad impression, it is also the mentality
of the Tongans, who virtually show only shallowness and indifference, and who don't take care of anything. Probably its roots are
to find in the constant cash flow from fellow citizen working in New Zealand, Australia and the USA, which causes that the ones
who stay home show only an interest in "Money-Transfer-Offices". A recent example: Although the entire population on the small
island of Tongatapu might have known that Liliana was bitten seriously by a dog and that she couldn't and wasn't allowed to leave
anymore the bed during a month (everybody knows everybody and is in the know about everyone, even foreigners), it could have
been expected from the hotel manager that she showed up once in our bungalow over Christmas and New Year. Only the few
expatriates wanted and tried to help us overcoming this difficult situation.
                                                              Tonga/Tongatapu: Liliana with crutches and the 'trolley' on the way to the doctor, while the LandCruiser is banned from driving
We are expecting now a reply from Papua New Guinea, whether our LandCruiser is allowed to enter the country. We are not
really looking forward to another ban on driving. If yes, the container might arrive beginning of March in Medan on Sumatra in
Indonesia, from where we intend to drive for the second time across the island archipelago to cross the land border from
Indonesian (Western-) Papua, the former Irian Jaya, into Papua New Guinea (from Jayapura to Vanimo). If no, we face a new
problem, which we will solve once more – traveling means not always holidays.

New Reports/Pictures
SOUTHEAST ASIA + PACIFIC:                                  mouse over picture shows comments
                                                                                                              click a picture to see details


Picture Gallery
(Nov. 2009 - Jan. 2010)
Tongatapu Island Nuku'alofa/Tongatapu/Tonga: Royal Palace
French Polynesia
2 Picture Galleries + 1 Report
(Aug. -Oct.  2009)
Tahiti/French Polynesia: One type of Tahiti's main flower with many names - Frangipani, Plumeria, Tiare Tahiti 1st part  Picture Gallery  (Aug.-Sept. 2009)

Tahiti 2nd part Picture Gallery  (Oct. 2009)

Moorea Picture Report   (Sept. 2009)

Cook Islands (without car)
Picture Gallery
(Aug. 2009)
Rarotonga Island Cook Islands/Rarotonga: Beauty from the South Pacific
American Samoa
Picture Gallery
(July 2009)
American Samoa: View from Pago Pago towards the 1'718ft. high Rainmaker Mountain (Pioa Mountain)
4 Picture Reports:
(April-June 2009)
Island of Upolu: 1st part
Island of Upolu: 2nd part
Independence Day  June 1st, 2009
Island of Savaii
Apia/Samoa: Coat of Arms of Samoa in front of the Government Office Building
3 Picture Galleries:
(Jan.-March 2009)
Suva/Fiji: Guard at the Parliament House
1st part: Island of Viti Levu (Jan.+Febr. 2009)
2nd part: Island of Vanua Levu (March 2009)
3rd part: Island of Taveuni (March 2009)
2 Picture Galleries:
(1st visit: July 2008)
(2nd visit: Dec. 2008-Jan. 2009)
Vanuatu 1st visit (without car)
Vanuatu 2nd visit (with car)
Vanuatu: Boeing 737-800 of Air Vanuatu at the airport of Port Vila
New Caledonia
3 Picture Galleries:
(Aug.-Oct. 2008)
New Caledonia: Nouméa and the St. Joseph Cathedral
1st part: Grand Terre: Nouméa + South (Aug.2008)
2nd part: Grand Terre: North #1 (Aug.+Sept. 2008)
3rd part: Grand Terre: North #2 (Sept.+Oct. 2008)
New Zealand
6 Picture Galleries:
(South Island: Febr.-May 2008)
(North Island: May-July 2008)
1st part: South Island (Febr.+March 2008)
2nd part: South Island (March 2008)
3rd part: South Island (April 2008)
4th part: South to North Island (May 2008)
5th part: North Island (May+June 2008)
6th part: North Island (June+July 2008)
New Zealand: South Island - typically
Philippines (without car) Picture Gallery
(Febr. 2008)

Philippines: Ricefields near Sagada/Mountain Province/Northern Luzon

3 Picture Reports:
(Oct.- Nov. 2007)
1st part: Kaohsiung-Kenting-Taitung
2nd part: Taitung-Southern Cross-
Island Hwy-Siraya NSA (Zengwun Reservoir)-Alishan-Sun Moon Lake -Taroko-Suao-Hualien Hwy-Taipei
3rd part: Taipei-Taitung-Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung/Taiwan: God of War at Lotus Pond
Timor-Leste (East Timor)
2 Picture Reports:
(May 2007)

Oecussi/Timor-Leste: Landscape East of Oecussi-'Town'

Exclave of Oecussi
1 Report + 6 Picture Galleries:
(Sumatra-Java: Sept.-Dec. 2006)
(Bali: Jan.-March 2007)
(Lombok, Sumabawa, Flores: April 2007)
(Sumba, West Timor: May+June 2007)
(Sulawesi:June+July 2007)
(Tana Toraja (-Land): June+July 2007)
(Kalimantan: July 2007)
Sumatra-Java    (= Report)
Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores
Sumba, West Timor
Tana Toraja (Toraja-Land)
Ke'te Kesu near Rantepao/Sulawesi/Indonesia: Traditional Toraja village
Picture Report
(Sept. 2006)
Brunei (Borneo): ’The 'Ali Saifuddien'-Mosque at sunset in Bandar Seri Begawan
3 Picture Reports:
(Sarawak: 1st visit: June-Aug. 2006)
(Sabah: Oct. 2006)
(Sarawak: 2nd visit: Nov. 2006)
Picture Gallery:
(Borneo-Trip: Sept.-Nov. 2006)
Sarawak part 1 Northeast (Miri)
Sarawak part 2 South (Kuching)
Borneo (Sabah, Brunei, Sarawak, Kalimantan)
Sepilok near Sandakan/Sabah/East-Malaysia (Borneo): Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center
Picture Report
(Engine/Body: June-Aug. 2006)
(Transmission: Sept. 2007)

Miri/Sarawak/East-Malaysia (Borneo): Overhaul of our LandCruiser in 'Full Swing'

Report of the first overhaul of 
our LandCruiser in Miri/Sarawak
- the East Malaysian province
on the island of Borneo
Myanmar (South) (without car)
Picture Report
(May 2006)
Myanmar: Waiting for customers in Kawthoung
2 Picture Galleries:
(1st visit: Nov. 1993 - Jan. 1994)
(2nd visit: Nov. - Dec. 2005)
(3rd visit: Febr. - April 2006)
Thailand: Ho Phra I-Suan Temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat
Temples, Pagodas, Shrines

People, Beaches, Nature

Picture Report
(February 2006)

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

Picture Report
(January 2006)
Vietnam: Two women cultivating a rice field
Picture Report
(December 2005)

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

Malaysia (West)
Picture Report
(Oct. - Nov. 2005)
(May 2006)
Malaysia: The four minarets of the ’Sultan Salahuddin’ State Mosque in Shah Alam are visible already from far
Picture Gallery
(September 2005)

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

Macao   (without car)
Picture Gallery
(September 2005)

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

Hong Kong
2 Picture Galleries:
(1st visit: September 2005)
(2nd visit: Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008)


Hong Kong 1st visit (without car)
Hong Kong 2nd visit (with car)
Hong Kong: From ’Hong Kong Peak’ we get an excellent view of the ’skyscraper jungle’
The visit of 13 Pacific Islands with and 1 without our LandCruiser

Pacific   February 2008 -

The visit of 13 Caribbean Islands with our LandCruiser

Caribbean   June 2003-Dec. 2004

+ added from the United Arab Emirates:

Fairytale Wedding in Dubai   (March 1999)

+ 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.
On June 10th, 2009, we were able to celebrate after a journey through 163 countries the car's
400'000th Mile - in a beautiful landscape in the West of the island of Savaii/Samoa.
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"


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