Oktober 21th 2010. 14000km. Korea,Seoul.


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October 11th 2010

A day of meetings

After saying goodbye to Victor I headed towards Vrangel – a town near Nahodka port at the Sea of Japan. After 30 or 40 km at the roadside café I met an English couple travelling around the world on their Land Rover. Our routes appeared to be pretty similar so it’s no unlikely to meet again in Latin America or US. In some dozen miles I was took over by three cabriolets with Dutch number-plates. The cars were uncovered, the roofs were folded down and passengers wore warm clothes and beanies. Such a LOL! On the nearest fueling station they turned out to be travelling from Amsterdam to Tokyo, nine cars in total. The chief of this weird cabrio-travellers is an experienced fellow who ride across South America and Australia. Riding with roof down folded  is their streak. It’s very in a motorcyclist way!

After cards exchange and wishing Godspeed, they darted with 150 km/h and I continued with my familiar speed 100 km/h to the seashore.

Approximately at 8 pm I was met by Vladimir in Nahodka. This year he carried out a travelling from Vrangel (Far East) to Odessa (Black Sea). Our correspondence is uploaded on the site in a column “Letters”. Last time we met in Ukraine. This time on his land.

October 12th 2010

I decided to resolve all the matters of departure to South Korea in the morning.  A ferry departs only once per week – tomorrow. I was warned that it’s unlikely that I could manage to pass the customs in a proper term. But hardly I could wait a week more – it’s getting cold in the Far East and warmth in northern parts of American continent wouldn’t wait for my arrival. Alea jacta est and i decided to push that through – i.e. to pass the customs right now.

The ferry boat sails about 12 hours and the cost of transportation me and bike was about USD 800!!! But there was no options.

This day before departure I spent riding waverunner, eating scallop fried on an open campfire with Vladimir, Kostik and Sashka. Chum Salmon tastes really delicious when eaten while sitting in a chair in chinese restaurant. There is no use to tell about trepang is soy sause! Thank you guys for this feast of stormach!

October 13th 2010

Early in the morning I left the hospitable house and headed to Vladivostok which is about 180 km from Vrangel. This cold morning brought me a meeting with traffic officer. In spite that my papers are on the windscreen he asked:

-Your documents please!

-It’s in front of you on my windscreen, – I answered. But he was young and persistent so he told then:

-We are proceeding a traffic operation “motorcyclist”, show me your papers

-Dear officer, do you really think that a foreigner could ride in your country on a stolen bike?

-I don’t think so – he answered.

-It’s obvious, but I have to say that it would be generous of you to stop the next rider on a heavy loaded bike with foreign numbers to offer assistance but not to check papers.

-Ok, ride safe , – he smiled

This means that there is at least one sound traffic officer between Fokino and Nakhodka.

I find no reasons to describe my lingering in a sea port office because it was ffffuuuuullll of bureaucracy. It turned out that to close my bike’s temporary admission I have to place it in a customs control in several days before the shipping, fill in a bucket of forms and admissions, sign a application, pass the check-up and only then the Mighty and Clumsy Customs machine will put a “CLOSED” stamp in my temporary admission declaration.

Besides I found out that a booking office will not sell me tickets without Korean visa. Complete and total despair! This day I rode more than 50 km within Vladivostok: in S.Korean embassy, in a number of customs entities until a proper office was found.

In the embassy the information was confirmed – with US visa and a ticket from Korea to US I can stay in a country and even drive my  cycle for 30 days. In the evening I came to MasterBIke ® store where I exchanged my Dunlop tires for another Dunlop tireset that fits Africa. In the same place I changed star and chain. This night I spent at Victor who has rode alone from Vladivostok to Crimea and back. The day was really hard generally due to the customs officers negligence and carelessness. In fact that bureaucracy was not so overwhelming and killing due to some officers who did care. Some of them were trying to help or just admired my helmet.

The end of message. Another sms to Malinka and I go to bed.

October 14th 2010

In a tires workshop my wheels were entrusted to some pleasant guys from Uzbekistan. Before the work was donr they warned me that I own’t be let go until I share dinner with them. I brought some coffee and they made a generous and delicious dish! This is what can energize man in a travel. Besides new wheels and chain and star of course: ) In the evening I was in Vrangel at my friend’s Vova. His house accepted me again till 20th of October.

October 15th 2010

The morning began not on the dawn and nearly 2 pm we already were loading tackles in a pick-up van. We are going fishing for all night long!  Yahooo! Our goal was to get some chum salmon and it’s caviar. The day was hard and the night was long and pretty cold. About 12 pm I decided to get warmed in a car. I didn’t notice how I fell asleep.

October 16th 2010

In the morning it turned out that guys have got come fish and that meant we will have some freshly-salted caviar for supper. Yumm! On the  mountain pass I saw the first snow for this season. Having had dinner we were preparing caviar for salting in the warmth of  Vladimir’s flat. One fisherman was going to get some crab for a supper – my favorite delicacy. This happened and in the evening we tasted just-boiled chum-salmon and crab of Kamchatka peninsula with cold beer from China. If the paradise could be on earth, that evening it’s gates opened in Vova’s drawing room. On the photo you can see me entering nirvana.

October 17th 2010

The opened fridge stored inside a lot of stuff I didn’t happen to eat yesterday. For the first time I closed it without any regrets or hesitations if I am sane) The reason was that I ate my fill. And since I felt no more hungry there was nothing left to do but  make myself a cup of coffee and get ready to go to Vladivostok. I still am sure that in several hours I would like to stand on this warm floor before the fridge… Anyway, Vova, you are a great man because you performed a dream of my childhood – fill myself with  marine fauna. In fact my tour slogan is ‘Dreams come true”’ Thank you for your hospitability and friendship! My home is your home! On the way to Vladivostok a clutch rope has been torn. The repair took about 15 minutes. While I was processing it I knew that Nickolay moved towards me from Vladivostok. Last year I stayed at his home for some days, we were diving in Slavyanka to get some seafood. Like last year he invited me to stay.  We parked my bike then we had suooer sharing news because tomorrow I had to manage with some customs issues. Wednesday evening I will load myself to DBS ferryboat that floats to South Korea where Sang Jung Lee already waits for my arrival.

October 18th 2010

“Go here, go there get it essewhere”

Should be placed on a russian customs office

In the morning I have printed two 10x15cm photographs of my Africa, applied a set of copied documents and went to the customs office to settle the issues of temporary admission. I had an opaque feeling that there will be a lot of  bureaucracy, but I did not guess how much it was!

The problem was that I refused the offer of customs brokers because my bike is not a commercial cargo and I will deal with temporary admission cancelling in my own. But choosing this option one is doomed to meet the nonchalance and total negligence of the customs officers – either treating you like a bothering factor or misrepresenting the information where to take forms, admissions or where one should bring it to.

From 11 am to 4 pm I galloped from one institution to another trying to clear up what should I do, what to fill in, what to sign and where to admit. The scheme how to act will be recounted in my book. If not for some good people who were ready to help me just because humane reasons – I don’t know how would I resolve this. Especial thanks to Maxim – the head customs control department, his assistant Elena, to Igor, the  chief-security of moorage, and Vadim – a booking company sales agent. I could continue my travel only due to their sympathy and humanity and to my insolence I could pass through the indifference! Oh this Russian customs service!

In the evening I was holding tickets for a ferry to take me to Korea and a e-ticket check for a plane from Seoul to Seatle that takes off on the 1st of November. Having this ticket and American visa I can stay in Korea up to 30 days. And as an exception from I can drive my bike. The point is that citizens of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine are not allowed to drive any vehicles in South Korea. Strange but true.

October 19th 2010

As the weather was not suppose to let go out I spent this day at Nikolay. All the matters of my and my Africa’s shipping were resolved so I had to wait for 20th of October and get aboard. It’s time to say goodbye to Russia. I cooked a Ukrainian borsht, visited a local motorcyclist club and discussed miscellaneous matters of life with Nikolay.

October 20th 2010


Today I go to South Korea!  My travel is on the start and is coming into an unfamiliar part. I am terribly worrying but there’s no way back – if riding across Russia I would be visited by an idea to go back to mama, it would take just a U-turn. Now a way back to Ukraine lies through Poland.: )

I have arrived to a ferry mooring sone hours before shipping. The control and other procedures reminded me an airport. As the cycle was shipped we shared last hugs with Nikolay and I departed. When passing a passport control I have met Dino (Australia, KTM) and Chris (Sweden, Yamaha TT600).

Those guys are turning their dreams into true the same as me. Their destination is Japan, mine is Korea.

Having departed we had a lor of time to talk and lots of issues to discuss on a DBS ferryboat. Some guys from Poland who left their bikes in Vladivostok  joined us. They will hitchhike down Malasia and south of Asia. They will take their bikes back next year on the way back. So chatting in such an international company we have consumed a bottle of wine given by Viktor (Svetlogorye), and a sausage stick given by my mother as a reserve stock. Prices in a ferry snack bar are off-scale a beer can costs $6

October 21st 2010

Today I will see Seoul

I had a bad sleep because it turned out that I have a sea sickness. Now it’s only 5 hours to Donghae. I write today record sitting on an upper deck. It’s warm and cloudy but sun comes out seldom. Sang Jung will wait for me in a port at the customs. Having complete all the formalities we will go to Seoul. It’s in 200 km from Donghae.

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Viktor and his son Alexey

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Viktor’s relatives from Bikin

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And Paul

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A mad cabrio gang)))))))

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It’s their route. They have passed Mongolia on these cars. Completely insane guys!

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This Mercedes rode about 200 000 km with roof folded.

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Vladimir from Vrangel

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Using this gear Alexander has got from the seafloor a lot of tasty and useful stuffRG121349 thumb Oktober 21th 2010. 14000km. Korea,Seoul.

Till it’s not too cold Vladimir and his guys have arranged a water cycling.

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And a waterboard too. Since my leg has been released from plaster only five days ago.

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A fireplace with cooking scallops

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The last shot when this is safe and uneaten

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Shamora – a famous beach in Vladivistok. Autumn…

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Malinka on an oceanshore

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Road to fishing place

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A river where chum-salmon is

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It’s useful to eat a lot in case if a salmon would like to drag you. Awesome are the dimensions in 30 meters … oops! senti-metres average

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He does  a very special – fishermen’s magic

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Andrey asks to speak as silent as possible in order not to arrest a predator’s attention. Otherwise they will take all the haul. And a vehicle too))))

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Kostik is armed and brave

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This is the very place where chum-salmon and it’s caviar lives

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Once in a cold morning

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The first snow!

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It’s great that snow has fell abnd that the predators(police or bears)  left us our fish.

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Guess who…?

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Vladimir preparing tool

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Meet Chum-salmon

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The most delicious

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-When will you finish? It’s hungry!

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All happiness in one Kamchatka crab.

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This is real Nirvana

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This puss lives at Vladimir’s and his mom. Even when you don’t know a cat’s speech you can read more questions than fur on it: who is that guy with camera? Will he take me with and will there be some fish?

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No, he won’t let me go!))))

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Going to Vladivostok

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This transport will take me to South Korea

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In some minutes I will stand in this cue.

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RG201508 Oktober 21th 2010. 14000km. Korea,Seoul.

Good bye sweet Russia, I will be back. And till I am back please make order in a customs service! …: )

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