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News October 2008   (Port Vila/Vanuatu, October 30, 2008)

Website statistics: In September we were able to welcome on our website 30'456 visitors who did 1'102'342 hits.
                                           (August = 26'352 visitors 955'161 hits)
                                The visitors are coming from about 100 to 118 different countries!
                                Record day since 12/17/1998 - the birthday of our website: 11/5/2007 = 13'407 visitors and 787'456 hits
Vanuatu – our 161st country – let us in! Because the non-extendable stay in New Caledonia expired October 26th, 2008,
the ferry company of "MV Havannah" made some concessions and added an additional trip to Vanuatu, and the broker
there signaled the "car-bureaucracy-OK", we booked spontaneously the three-day ride to Port Vila, the capital of
Vanuatu.  While there are no cabins on the "Havannah", the easy chairs are fixed in a way that sleeping on them isn't at all a
problem if the ferry isn't full. After the first night and 10 hours of sailing – at the first stop on the Loyalty Island of Maré –
many of the passengers left hence the journey became pretty 'comfortable'. Although the vessel is a ro-ro version
(roll-on/roll-off ferry), it's very rarely used for transporting tourist vehicles: The Loyalty Islands are too small to justify the
costs of transporting a vehicle to make just an excursion; and continuing on to Vanuatu does anyway nobody, because the
Pacific countries (like the Caribbean) simply don't know a temporary international import. Said this, the ship is mostly used
for cargo, except for a few locals and even less tourists. In New Caledonia most of the Kanaks have enough money to use
the plane, while most of the tourists don't have enough time to do a ship's passage. Furthermore, there is another possibility
– if it isn't broken down (again) – to book the double-speed and double-fare passenger ferry 'Betico', which is sailing more
comfortably during daytime. Before coming to Lifou, the biggest island of the Loyalty group after another 4 hours' ride on a
calm sea, about 20% of the cargo was discharged. For Lifou itself remained a further 50%. The Loyalty's smallest island,
Ouvéa, which offers the longest and most untouched beaches, was reached after further 6 hours on the second morning –
followed again by unloading about 15% of more cargo, but no passengers. Finally, we arrived at our destination of Port
Vila in Vanuatu 18 sailing hours later on the third morning at 6am. It's interesting that – unfortunately – in the Loyalty Islands
nobody can join the ship for Vanuatu, because New Caledonia's exit immigration and customs procedures are exclusively
done in Nouméa.
The entrance process for Vanuatu was done on the ship for the remaining ~30 passengers. While the immigration officer
granted us a one month stay, our baggage was searched superficially by the customs people. Most important was the
compulsory return- or onward ticket. In between, our LandCruiser had to be driven out of the vessel to be parked on the
berth, whereon we left for our close-by freight agent "FR8Logistics". He was pleased to tell us that in fact nothing is in our
way now to leave the port – 19 pages of paper from three ministries were produced to prove this! And really: Arriving at
the customs headquarter, the responsible officer gave us green light, and we could wave good-by to the harbor area –
wow, we made it! Our first visit to Vanuatu in July this year on the way from New Zealand to New Caledonia has paid out.
Because the quarantine – like before already experienced in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia – doesn't allow
virtually any foodstuff to be brought in, our first ride was for the supermarket. Barely parked, our LandCruiser was
immediately surrounded by curious people. The interest shown by the Ni-Vanuatu (the local Melanesian population) about
'Wherefrom? – Whereto?' is incredible! Thus, our interview with the only local newspaper is meanwhile behind us. What's
left now is to explore the third largest island of Efate (350 sq.mi.) situated in the Shefa-Province, being also the main
island with the largest town Port Vila (40'000 pop.). Vanuatu consists of totally 82 islands, where of 65 are inhabited by
about 215'000 people. The republic lies in the chain of volcanic islands stretching from Papua New Guinea via the Solomon
Islands until Fiji. Most of the tourist resorts lie on Efate, where there is a ring road of about 85 miles leading to those
wonderful beaches, we are intending now to visit and to enjoy. The highest mountain on Efate, Mount McDonald, rises to
                                                         Vanuatu: Irifa harbor near Port Vila on the island of Efate: Leaving 'MV Havannah'
Our local freight agent is checking now an affordable continuation that would enable us also to visit the largest and more
massive island of the Vanuatu archipelago: Espiritu Santo (1'527 sq.mi.), lying in the Northerly Sanma Province with its
main city of Luganville (11'000 pop.) and the highest mountain, Mount Tabwemasana (6'165ft.). Luganville offers the
second international seaport in Vanuatu, from where container vessels are leaving for Fiji. We still bear some hopes to be
able to explore also this island country, although currently there is complete silence from there. Good things come to those
who wait!

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


2 Picture Galleries
(1st visit: July 2008)
(2nd visit: Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008)
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
Picture Gallery
(Febr. 2008)

Philippines: Ricefields near Sagada/Mountain Province/Northern Luzon

3 Picture Galleries
(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 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
(Sept. 2006)
Brunei (Borneo): ’The 'Ali Saifuddien'-Mosque at sunset in Bandar Seri Begawan
3 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
(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)
(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

(February 2006)

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

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

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

Malaysia (West)
(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 3 Pacific Islands with 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.
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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