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Bo 'n' Louise

A blog about one of our trips

The unprepared round-the-world tour starting 29th of June 2009.
First phase was from USA to South America on motorcycles. We made it, and the bikes are sold.
Second phase was the South Pacific... from island to island in old fashion backpacker style.
Third phase was around and around in Southeast Asia.
In fourth phase Louise went back to Denmark (August 2010) for work, while Bo continued in East Asia.
In fifth phase we were both on work, Louise in South America and Bo in Southeast Asia.
In the sixth phase Louise was in Denmark while Bo was making his way home through Russia.
By November 2010 both Louise and Bo were back in Denmark and an amazing journey has ended - but then there is always the next trip :-)

Off to work

Ecuador incl. Galapagos Posted on Tue, August 17, 2010 09:15:45

I headed back to South America to do a bit of work…

Back in Quito, Ecuador…

After I had spent a few days in the capital, the group arrived.
The virgin..

After just one day we headed straight for the Galapagos Islands. Jibiii…

It still is an amazing place – wonderland for animal-lovers..
Underwater Galapagos; cleaning station for sea turtles

Stingray

White tipped reef shark – there was a whole gang of them hanging out under a rock shelf

The sealions were as playful as ever – giving us quite a show.
Some of my guests were kind enough to send me these pictures:
The joke is aparently all Danish – the Ecuadorian captain doesn’t seem to be laughing.
The tourleader is always focused on the group.. even if she seems to be leading a group of tortoises on this occasion 🙂

Back on the mainland we headed for the jungle – the Amazonas!

The medicine man

Cocoa plant – ripe and ready – tastes good too – even like this

Beautiful flowers
more..
A very small, however very poisonous, snake was cuddled up under a dry leaf

I was sent this picture too – of the tourleader dressed up in local flowers to look like a kiss-ready parrot.. 😎
A Wolly monkey checks us out as we pass on the river

An Ozelot – beautiful creature – unfortunately endangered and here in a cage
The middle of the world..

And the monument marking the middle of the world – from 600 ft away..

We went to the giant market in Otavalo with all it’s incredible people
There’s shopping
talking
evaluations
and tacky sourvenirs..

We even made it to Mindo, the cloud forest north west of Quito. Here we got to see flowers and hummingbirds and even a mermaid..

Humming away
at an incredible pace
They’re just so cute
She was just sitting there – by accident

Another beautiful – now ex nymph..



Whale hunting and dolphin catching

Indonesia Posted on Sun, July 04, 2010 22:25:19

After several hours of rumbling about in the back of a 4 wheel drive with Indonesian pop music blasting out we disembark in Lamalera, a small sleepy fishing village.

Ikat weaving local ladies

In the afternoon sun it seems remarkably idyllic despite the ever present smell of drying whale flesh. In the previous weeks they have had a lucky streak of two big whales, the proof of which is all around in the shape of big slices of fat drying from thin bamboo poles.
Last weeks whale

Some of the pieces host generous amount of wiggling white maggots and the smell is rancid.

Fishing boats on the beach

On the beach the fishing boats lie side by side, the robes are neatly folded, each with a big, apparently homemade harpoon at the end. A young bloke shows me how it is fixed at the end of one of the long bamboo rods from the pile in the rig over the body of the boat. Then we sit down and draw in the sand, whale, ray and dolphin and he teach me their Indonesian names; paus, pari and lumpa lumpa.

Harpoon ready for action

We head out to sea with one of the boats. There are 8 men aboard – all scouting, at times anyway, across the surface for signs of life. A man is standing on the only little piece of deck in the stern of the boat, staring intensively. When we close in on a bunch of dolphins he grabs one of the bamboo rods and is ready with the harpoon. Every muscle in his body is tense and ready! But only if we get very close in above the animals and if they do not dive or change their direction does he throw himself with the harpoon overboard. Most of the times he puts the bamboo rod back in the rack.
Traditional boats
Two not so skilled whale hunters

The dolphins skip and jump in a great ”Flipper” spectacle when they are at a safe distance. Jumping out of the water and doing back-flips – amazing! The whale hunters do not look impressed…
Airborne and rolling sideways..

But all of a sudden everybody is alert! A group of large animals break the surface up ahead. The man in the front deck takes of his hat and signals for the others to give him a larger harpoon from a coil of robe right at my feet. I try to ask if what we are following is ”paus” – but they tell me it is ”lumpa lumpa”, however it is clearly not the regular ”ikan lumpa lumpa” (fish dolphin). The large buff animals pass close by and the snorting of their breathing valves is audible. Our guy on the front deck readies every muscle and plunge in with the harpoon. But in vain. The group is gone just as suddenly as it appeared. We circle the area for a while but they do not resurface.

And he takes the plunge

A group of dolphins appear and our guy in front has better luck this time and hits a small dolphin.

Our harpoon guy smiles – he knows he hit one

While he climbs back on board the rough hands of the other fishermen have pulled the dolphin in. It is dead before it reached the boat and is easily hailed on board. This is not the case with the following catch which is an older and bigger dolphin. It has a couple of yet unhealed wounds from fights with other dolphins or maybe shark attacks.
One last fight

Another harpoon is thrown at it and it gradually looses the energy to fight. In the end this one too can be pulled on board the small vessel.

A heavy catch
One more try – could be a lucky third

After a couple more tries we head back to the bay and are met by a bunch of kids eager to help get the dolpins ashore.

Back on the beach
The kids are showing us how they would have done it
Sharing the fins

The first things to be cut off are the fins which, it seems, are a delicacy to the local children. The dolphins are split up and divided between the crew of the boat.

Everything is equally divided

We sit and watch and follow the whole thing when an old wrinkled fisherman comes over holding two pieces of pure meat – and hands it to us!
Proud dolphin hunters
Jesus is eith us – on the engine
Back ”home” the meat is cooked and there is enough for everyone. It tastes really nice (not at all like chicken :-)) and we can truly say that we have been to Lamalera.
Yummy – fresh caught mammal

REMEMBER you can check out more pictures on Globespots

PS.
I am fully aware that for a lot of people catching and eating dolphins is controversial. However I can assure you that the way they handle things here is humane and very fair. Every little bit of the animals is used (eaten) and here they do not hunt more than they need and they do it in a very sustainable way that will not affect the dolphin nor the whale populations significantly.



Diving galore

Indonesia Posted on Thu, June 24, 2010 10:24:10

While Bo was off to far away East Timor I headed out to do some diving – first a single dive at Gili and then I was off. 24 hours of bussing and ferry-riding later I arrived to Labuan Bajo, Flores. From here I headed of on a 3 day diving cruise in the waters around Komodo island. It was amazing!!

My cabin – I could have stayed here soooo much longer


You cannot really appreciate the fact that Indonesia is in fact an archipelago until you see it from out there. In fact there are thousands of tiny cone shaped islands.
Islands, water and one small fishing village

The current can be strong in these waters, which is a disadvantage for a cork like me who takes forever to make it down into the blue… but it all worked out and I got to experience the giant fish, sharks, turtles and crazy pygmy seahorses and so much more wonderful and amazingly beautiful stuff down there…

One happy girl after yet another trip into the abyss

So amazing…

In between dives there was really nothing to do but to relax, sunbathe, drink coffee, read and just watch the scenery… holiday with a capital H!!

The waters around Komodo

Even fishermen here have Gucci towels.. why not..

A local school girl
– the tourist here are victims of English practising.. however it
seldom moves beyond conversations like ”Whats’s your name?” and ”Where
do you come from?” but it always end in a photo with the cell phone.

Kids
in Labuan Bajo are also big fans of the kong fu pose..

View from the bus

Also view from the bus – off course you can take a chainsaw bigger than the bike you are riding..



Red riot in Bangkok

Thailand Posted on Sun, May 30, 2010 07:22:40

A struck of good fortune or maybe negotiations gave the Thai capital a well deserved breather just the day before we headed here. I had seen numerous demonstrations and thousands of red-shirts in the city just one month earlier. But now a truce of some sort had set in and for some days at least it was peaceful.
Peaceful Bangkok
Bangkok fra floden

In Khao San Road the result of the situation was readily reflected by the number of tourists – or rather the lack. By far abandoned, but still very very quite for this hornets nest of backpackers. We spent a few days trying to catch up on anything from computerstuff to sushi intake and sleep.
We got a free “fish-massage” with our room.. fun stuff 😀
And we got new clothes..
Advertising the fantastic globespots.com

We also needed to get Bo’s camera to the shop and try to get 60 day visas for Indonesia. Bo managed to hand in his camera while I handed in my passport.

The gigantic weekendmarket

I even managed to get of at the wrong sky train station and walked straight down into the red-shirt camp. It looked mostly like an abandoned festival campground and most of the people there where merely trying to sell food and t-shirts to the few stoic democracy fighters still hanging out. Nobody seemed to notice or care that I was making my way trough the camp. Only on the way out a guy asked me if I understood what the rather lonely guy on the stage was saying through a thousand speakers to a lot less people throughout the vast area. I told him I didn’t, but that I too was for democracy, neglecting mentioning of their support of a convicted corrupt politician.

All that was left of the red shirt camp

However, come collection day of passport and camera the rioting had stirred up a bit. The taxi-driver I asked to take me to the embassy voluntarily handed me over to some motorcycle guys, explaining that they could get through the barricades. True enough, I was dumped on a completely deserted street right in front of the embassy which was luckily open. Bo did not have the same kind of luck with his quest and the camera is – hopefully – still in Bangkok… Luckily, we’re not.
I thought that was illegal??
A beer and a boy



Laos – on two wheels

Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia Posted on Thu, May 13, 2010 03:28:33

Sabai-dii!! The children are yelling as we pass. They are waving vividly and start laughing hysterically when we wave back at them. We have gone on a 5 day motorcycle trip to the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos.

We pass a number of stalls selling braided bamboo for roofing. Then numerous stalls selling durian, pineapple and jack fruit.
They don’t smell too good – but they love them here
Jack fruit in all sizes and shapes
And bananas..

Why 15 stalls all selling the exact same thing have to lie side by side along the road I will never be able to understand. Then we hear the sound of iron on iron – they are selling knifes – fresh of the bolt.
We stopped by an open air museum and met these lovely ladies

As evening approached we find ourselves a nice balcony overlooking a waterfall and the river where the activities are just picking up. The men are fishing, the kids are playing and bathing while the women are washing both themselves and the laundry before the sun settles behind the trees. A couple of pigs walks past on the brink and received a lot of yelling for taking en interest in the kids clothes.
Bo and Beerlao
It is not as easy as it looks – and you don’t catch a whole lot of fish either
Bathing Lao women

The rainy season is not far of and we have already had some fierce tropical showers in the city but out here in the countryside it is crispy dry. The houses are empty. They are only used for sowing and harvesting and I get the feeling that this is what it must feel like riding through the area around Tjernobyl. Not a soul or any sign of life at all. Just these lovely houses on stilts and brown dry fields. No one is waving here and it is easy to suddenly feel very lonely…

Typical house on stilts – except the emptiness
Sometimes they look like this..;-)

We rode past the local hardware store

Things to see and things you end up doing…
The sights along the way included a number of waterfalls, all beautiful on their own. There was also some war material from the Vietnam war on the list. It was a bit of the beaten track, and since we were there it was easy to choose to go a little bit further.. The two small Hondas hit the dirt roads. When all the signs started to be in Vietnamese and people stopped smiling it was time to turn around.

Complete with Russian and Vietnamese writing

The elusive plateau
On day 3 we were still riding in the same oven-temperatured lowlands and had even lost sight of the wall of the plateau and were starting to wonder if we would get to ride on it at all.

Hmm which way? – on the map there is only one straight road..

Asking for directions – we’re on the right track!

The following day we headed up a potholed dirt road after a filling of dried meat – potentially of barking dear – while watching the last drops of blood dribble from the cute little noses of a bunch of squirrels hanging, newly gutted, upside down in the next stall. It seems that one of the main reasons that there is so little wildlife in Laos is because it tastes so good..

The jungle that had once been surrounding the road had been chopped down and turned into charcoal, making what should have been a shady ride through the wilderness a slightly hot and depressing trip from one black patch to the next.

It is a hot dusty ride

Only the studs left along with the occasional blackened trunk was left.

Two dusty travellers with helmet hair and a beautiful waterfall

There might not be a whole lot of water – but it is huge – that tiny dot is Bo
Beautiful.. waterfall into a giant pit of green..
She really wanted a picture with the funny strangers.. We are SO smelly and dirty but maybe that just added a little spice to it all
A few waterfalls dropping out of more intact looking crispy green forest lightened up the day and in the late afternoon the terrain changed, the temperature dropped and a thundercloud lulled ominously at the horizon.
Water power station – Laos style

With so many other things going on we had barely noticed that the road had climbed and we had made it finally to the Bolaven plateu .

Here they grow coffee



Laos – land of smiles

Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia Posted on Wed, May 12, 2010 14:07:28

Lets begin with some more border scams.. Arriving at the Lao border we were asked to pay 2 USD more then the posted price. Being experienced travellers we would not be scamed again (we had just had to pay on the way out of Vietnam). It also said on the poster that on holidays and weekends they would charge 2 USD more.. and we had landed in the midst of the Lao New Year – so it all made sense..
Completely soaked on the bus from the border

What Lao New Year was as about we soon discovered – a whole nation in one giant water-throwing-battle!! Old and young, monks and teenagers.. everybody are throwing water and some throw coloured water and flour. Small groups of people in – by now – multicolored t-shirts have dragged giant speakers into the street and are dancing around at spontaneously looking parties drinking Beerlao – the national – and rather good – beer

Water fights everywhere – and we got a bit of colour too 🙂

The New Years celebrations had cast their spell on the different sightseeing spots as well. Supposedly normally tranquil places like caves and waterfalls had turned into festival scenes with hundreds of people with picnic baskets, kids and beerlao. And thrifty salesmen had come to sell chiken feet on sticks and other tit-bits. Oh yes – and more loud music from high-pitch-challenged giant speakers. Much enjoyed by the lao-lao (Lao rice-wine)soaked ”dancers”.

Parking guard
On the other side of the cave things are a bit more calm

Laos smiles
Laos is the land of smiles – literally. No matter where you go people smile at you. It like it is a ”default setting” – the first choice of action when you have eye contact with another person. Here in Asia smiles work differently than back home. Here you smile at everything, when you are happy, when you are confused, when you’re mad.. All right, the smiles may differ a tad. Sometimes they are even accompanied by laughs, the more hysterical, the less happy generally or in some cases just coming from a group of teenage girls. But even with the many origins of the smiles they still make you feel happy. No matter what time of the day and even when you yourself might look tired and miserable you are greeted with a smile – and it works wonders – you have to smile back at them and you become a little bit more happy yourself. I am beginning to understand how these ”laughing clubs” work 😀

Two very common things in Laos; geckos and Beerlao (billbord comercial)

We managed a little culture as well – here in the “Angkor” of Laos (Wat Phu)
Some people might think we are crazy – it is 38 degrees celcius and up the stairs
The view from the backseat of the motorcycle
“Pedestrians” – nothing to do but to slow down
Bo unloads from the “ferry”

Last stop in Laos would make anyone happy. A couple of days by the Mekong river – nothing to do.. lovely…

Frangipani – Laos’ national flower



People and smiles of the Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Posted on Fri, March 12, 2010 07:30:21

When we landed in Seghe we were greeted by Benjamin, the owner of the lodge where we were going to stay. He was wearing a brand new, flashing red DBU (Danish Football Union) t-shirt! He told us that his Danish friends were staying with him at the moment. When we got to the lodge a whole family was there.

The Jakobsen’s and our hosts – and lovely freshcaught fish for dinner.

They had been coming to Benjamins place, Matakuri lodge, for the past 10 years.

Nothing to do but sit in the sunset and read a book..

Spending a few days here told us why. It was a very tranquil place with nothing to do. Exactly what we needed.

Our little bungalow..

There was even time for some house-keeping duties..



And these guys came around one morning to say hello..

However a bit surreal to be talking Danish to someone when we couldn’t be further from home…

From Matakuri we made some excursions around the Marovo Lagoon. To small villages in the neighborhood. This is where we met all off these lovely kids.

They were all looking and laughing big time.. so sweet!

Then we had a short stop in Munda – to dive – so not so many pictures… Saw sharks – and they saw us – and kept coming back to have another look – fascinating! They are indeed most gracious creatures!

Growing along the road..

Another sunset

We also made it to Malaita, another Solomon island with another beautiful lagoon and more lovely kids.

Kids playing – surfing – on thin wooded boards on the beach.

Living on a manmade coral island – it doesn’t get more Malaitan.

We lived right on the water once more. The owner, Serah, told us many stories about the bush-people, who still live naked, and the salt-water people who were originally bushpeople but went off in search of new land and ended up killing so many people on the way that they couldn’t go back and ended up living in the islands of the coast in the Langa Langa lagoon.

Bo and Serah padles us to the waiting car that will take us back to reality.



Pacific surprice

Vanuatu Posted on Mon, February 22, 2010 07:06:48

Wow – is really the only way to say it!…
After our dip into civilization we headed for another Pacific island; Vanuatu.
Already the headrest in the plane makes you happy with its flowers..
A welcoming band – but off course…

The first thing we noticed here was how happy everybody was – they all smile and laugh and we can’t remember seeing one ounce of sour-ness troughout our stay…

I’ll give it to you mainly in pictures….
Mardet in Port Vila on the main island Efate
Fancy Flying fox (bat) for lunch?
Coconut crabs – the strangest creature I have ever seen!
Their claws look like teeth – made for cracking coconuts.. watch your fingers!

We stayed with the chief of a small “Costum village” where they live traditionally.
The king on his throne
And on a chair that is so big he cannot reach the floor – that doesn’t happen often! (and the chair doesn’t fit under the table)
This root has to be chewed by virgin boys – or nowadays just beat to pulp
then the liquid is separated – and voilá – you have “Kava”. One guy told us “it takes approximately 50 seconds” – the are not very particular about time or numbers here..
The chief
and Bo are drinking – no women allowed – which suited me just fine – since the muddy drink tastes really horribly!
People here are familiar with cyclones and have built these special shelters that cannot be blown over like the rest of the houses – so this is where they gather when the cyclones hit – clever!

The chief told us he was going to play the “tam tam” to gather the men for some dancing. They were going to take their clothes of and put on “numbers” – we were a little puzzled by this and imagined body paint in number patterns. A “Namba” however turned out to be a small broom-like thing made of bark or leaves that is strung around the waist to cover the bare essentials. And then there was dancing and singing and hard stepping – an important part of “Nambas” wich the dance is also called..

Bo got his own Namba and even joined in the dancing – he was good!
On our way to the vulcanoe – “it is not far” – it took us only 2 hours – each way – but this is the way they get around here..
It was an intense experience! Especially the sound – sounded like someone was trying to mimic the sound of thunder by wiggling giant corrogated iron plates and huge blasts
I think you can see that the things flowing in the air are actually red-hot?
I never thougt I would see a real vulcanoe in action – from the rim! Amazing!
(this picture was taken with a wide angle lens – not a tele…)

On our way to Shark Bay a woman shows us the way. While we walk she pulls of a few leaves and show us how they can be used against mosquitoes and explain that they are also used in the womens dance-outfit. She picks up a green fruit-looking thing and flings it open with her machete to reveal a nut inside that we get to taste – fantastic…
Shark Bay..
We continue our trek with a few obstacles..
Port Resolution – our destination. Again I forget that asking about the number of inhabitants is a pointless question “more than 100” is the answer I get 😉
Here they have this wonderful white sandy beach – that we have all to ourselves
almost! We sprint out of the water when this sea-snake swims right past me (I might have yelled something like “F****!!”) these types of snakes are usually extremely poisonous!
However in Vanuatu even the snakes are friendly – the locals tells us it is not dangerous..
The kids are fishing for small colourful coral fish while the sun sets
Everywhere people are so curious and friendly, smiling and waving
Check in facilities – well all facilities – in Tanna airport 🙂
Leaving this fantastic place in yet another propeller aircraft..



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