I have skipped a fair few posts but promise to catch up over the next few weeks
Monday 1st April
I was awake and having a nice brekky at the Jayawardna GH by 7am, the earliest they do it. This is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and it was my last day on foreign soil at this time. I did not have great deal of time as I needed to catch the shuttle to the airport. As the bike was delivered to customs yesterday and would be on the same flight, I better make sure I did not miss it :) I was already packed and not long after brekky, Walter dropped me off at the train station, one of the services included in the room cost.
[gratuitous bit of religion bashing ahead, be warned! Did you know Easter has nothing to do with Christianity? I only found out recently, they stole the ceremony from a pagan ritual. I was always confused by the fact rabbits and eggs were high on the agenda and I used to be one of those supporters of the Bilby being used instead at this time, down here in Oz. But, now I find out that Ishtar(pronounced easter), the goddess of fertility had a rabbit escort(as Alan put it, rabbits f$%^ like rabbits), and also eggs are a symbol of fertility. So, now it all makes sense about the eggs and rabbits, but what the heck has it to do with some dude called Jesus? That is why I despise religion, they use and twist words and events to suit themselves. Don't forget, this has nothing to do with remembering the time of somebody's death, if that were true, then it would be on the SAME DAY EVERY YEAR!!!! But, we all know Easter holidays change and the pagan holiday is always set as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Here are some links so you can read for yourself what it is all about, or do a google search, that is all I did:
Ok, so I am at the train station and waiting in line for a ticket and I know I need this train, but they only had one slow person selling tickets. The two ticket machines were broken, so it was a bit of a farce. In the end, about 5 of us who were now in a hurry, jumped the gates and bolted for the platform and just managed to catch the train. Then at the other end, go to the counter and pay for the ticket :)
Once at the airport, I went and found the baggage check in line, which was huge!!! But, before that I saw the bag wrappers and paid my $3.50 to make sure my checked in baggage does not suddenly contain a boogie board or any other illegal substances before I retrieve it at the other end!!!
Once I had stood in line for ages I handed over the wrapped baggy and was now free for a while. I had an hour or so to wait before the flight left and used that time to have a look outside and basically relax. :)
After a while I headed through immigration and arrived at the boarding gate via a train service, just in time as they opened the plane for boarding. This was a wide bodied jet on a direct flight to Brisbane.
Take off was on time, the only issue that I was a bit miffed about was the plane flight plan details, that system was not working :( But, the rest of the entertainment system was :) Plus I had many books and my own music to keep me amused :) The views down on the islands were nice, and of course I had chosen a window seat on purpose as it was a mainly daylight flight :)
The flight was only 8 hours, but because we headed east, we lost 2 hours or so. And as the flight system was broken, I had no idea where we were in relation to the ground. But, when we crossed over some land about 5 hours into the flight I decided it must be Oz :)
We had the usual on board tucker that some planes give out before late afternoon I spotted what looked like a massive river system down below. I had seen many along the way and most of them were dry. When I asked the stewardess dude where we were(I had an idea), he confirmed the fact we were near Longreach, not far to go now :)
It was not long after this we hit the terminator and we were flying blind, all except the captain, or so I hoped ;)
Once we landed at Brisbane IA, I was lucky as I could use my electronic passport to quickly pass through immigration. In no time at all I had found my still wrapped luggage, with no added boogi board, and headed out to the exit where I was going to be picked up by a fellow HU member, Shane.
It was not long before Shane found me and we were off to his place, and after buying some coke at a servo(and recovering from the heart attack of paying $5 for a bottle), we were back at his place where I met Karen his wife and I unboxed my duty free friends :)
It was a late night as we chatted about this that and the other. We had met a few times in the past, Shane had organised a few of the Horizons meetings down this way, although his work commitments have kept him from an extended journey like mine at this time.
Tuesday 2nd April
Of course I slept in today, but that was no big deal, I had need of it :) During the morning I contacted Malaysian Airlines and asked them about my bike. They told me to go to Menzies Aviation, which happens to be right next door to Qantas Freight, where the bike left from around this time last year :)
Menzies Aviation GPS – S27 24.513 E153 06.089
I called them and they said to get down there as soon as possible as the paperwork trail may take some time. Once Shane was available we headed down and started the process.
The process was pretty simple, there is no need to use a broker or agent, you can do it yourself. In my case the procedure was as follows.(note: This process will be documented and posted on Horizons Unlimited under the Shipping section over the next week or so.)
First off, I went to Menzies Aviation and proved my ID, they then gave me the Air Way Bill and I had then to take that to Customs. Customs is in a different building of course and about 5km away, again, of course. Lucky for me Shane had the time to shuttle me around.
Australian Customs and Border Security GPS – S27 24.804 E153 04.755
The reason it says border security is because AQIS is in the same building, which is Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, I am sure I will be dealing with them soon! I punched the button for a ticket and waited until that number was called. There are no forms to fill out(but I am talking specifically about an Aussie returning home with an Aussie registered bike), when my number was called, I went up and I explained I was trying to release my motorbike and it was on a Carnet. Brisbane has a standard format for this type of paperwork, in my case, a Carnet will take 24 hours, the sign was on the window and it seems I have no choice. Although, Beemerbird mentioned on Facebook that in Sydney, there is a 10 minutes process time, but I am here, not there. So, sadly I have to return in the morning :( But, the people behind the counter were nice enough, when I asked they said sure, rock in around 9am and read a book until we get it sorted, so that is what I will do. :)
The next thing that was nearly as important was communication. I had put my Australian GPS map SD card in a safe place. I had also put my Aussie SIM in the same safe place, it just so happens, that safe place is in bonded storage at Menzies Aviation :oops: So, Shane took me to a Telstra shop where I asked for and received a free replacement SIM card and my old number is now back up and running again.
I had in fact been paying a holding fee on this number while I was away, so I would not lose it, but it was good to be back online in Oz :) After dinner that evening I had a few rumbos, but nothing like last night. I needed to be firing on all cylinders in the morning and sober with a zero BAC, as I fully hoped to be riding my bike. During the day, between us we managed to contact the local Harley dealer and although they did not have them in stock, they said they could have two front indicators(part numbers supplied) delivered Thursday around lunchtime. This meant only a short time riding without them. :) The indicators I use are from the Buell range of HD sports bikes, they are flexible and although I have proven they are not indestructible, they can take a lot of damage before they are no good any more. Mine have been ripped off in a serious of crashes. They are half the cost of the Suzuki OEM ones, which are so fragile it is a wonder they can get away with selling the bike with them on ;)
Wednesday 3rd April
Crunch time today as I expected to find out how severe the quarantine inspection is, and I really expect a hard time from them as I am on a bike. So, Shane dropped me back at the Customs place(then left to do his own errands) and after pressing selection ‘A’ I grabbed a ticket from the machine, A001 and was immediately called up to a counter where after a brief chat about the Carnet, he said take a seat and I waited a few minutes before I was called to a window by a Customs lady. She was a bit concerned by the Carnet not being signed off properly by the Malaysian Customs. I explained that the person doing it had no idea what to do and kept looking at other pages but did stamp the counterfoil, but apparently she forgot to sign it. It was not going to be a problem, but something else she showed me was real bad. Now, I have not used this carnet booklet except this once. It had 25 pages, to allow for 25 countries and only the top one had been used. On the THIRD page, some arsehole had written some very disgusting and suggestive remarks in plain English, I know who it was and they will get what is coming to them in due course, don’t you worry about that(be very very fucking scared wanker, I am coming for you)!!!!. This may have been why I got some strange looks in Malaysia from the Muslim lady dealing with my request as I had no idea at that time!!! That could have so easily gotten me a jail sentence in this country(or worse) and I will be dealing with that at a later stage, you can be sure of that!!
Needless to say, this lady from Aussie customs was not amused either and although we talked about tearing that page out, on reflection we left it in and blacked it out, this booklet still has to go to the RACQ for my deposit refund!
So, once we had sorted that horrible business out, I sat back down to wait again. It was not long before she returned, handed me my paperwork and said it is now OK to proceed to the next step, which means go back to the machine, select button ‘B’ and take a ticket and as had happened before, go direct to the next free counter. This in fact was the AQIS window, next to the one I had just left :) This lady took my info and said as it was a motorbike it would need to be inspected. There would be a fee for this and once we had established that the bike was at Menzies Aviation, it turns out there is a window of opportunity between 09.45 and 11.15am every day, it was now 10.20am!!!
I had made a mistake earlier when Shane dropped me off. He asked whether I had his phone number, I said yes, of course, remember I had sent a message to him at Brisbane airport. Now, when I checked,I found that NO, I did not have his number, all I had was email and Facebook details. This was a problem as I did not want to wait another day if I missed this inspection window! To cut a long story short, I managed via white pages to find their home phone number, called Karen who gave me Shane’s mobile number and within a short space of time, he rocked up and I was delivered to Menzies yet again, where the AQIS chap was waiting.
Once again it was a bit of a rigmarole as I was not prepared. I was wearing thongs(not anal floss, I mean flip flops or Chinese riding boots for my feet) and so I now had to borrow a pair of enclosed footwear to enter the Bonded Storage(I have sand shoes and bike boots with the bike, but need the above mentioned footwear to get to them). Once inside the bonded area the quarantine dude inspected my bike, which was very clean and shiny for the second time of its life.(The first time being when I bought it, but this time it has some battle damage) Because I had camping gear he wanted to inspect that also, but it was short and sweet, I had cleaned all that stuff in KL before I left :)
Once he had checked all the bike numbers, VIN and engine number, and checked my tent and other camping gear for dirt and mud, he signed the release.
I still was not allowed access to the bike though. I had to return to the office, hand back the borrowed boots, wait until the AQIS chap had returned to his office and signed off electronically which was linked to the Menzies system, then once that was done, swipe my credit card(which is feeling very light lately) and pay for the bonded storage company.
But, now I was free :) Once they released the bike I could push it out of bond, unlock the top box which had all my smelly gear in it, strip off(yes in public) and don my still soaking (sweaty smelly ) bike gear and ride away, down to the closest servo(to fuel up), then onwards to Redcliff where Shane’s place was :)
Cheers from Redcliff