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15 MAY - Cape Town, South Africa

Date received: Tue May 15 2001, 02:12 PM PDT

I am back to traveling alone. My friend Emily headed off to Spain today, and now I need to get my life in order. I have more or less reached the end of my African travel leg, but I still have major issues with the plans for my Asian travel leg, so I don't know how long I will be here.

My plan has been to buy a motorbike in Cairo and ride it across Asia, but the paperwork has proven to be prohibitive (unless I want to spend lots of money, which I don't have.) Now that I am in a country with good internet access and cheap international phone calls, I can get some real answers. I really don't know if things will work out, but I am going to explore all my options. The biggest problem I am having is dealing with some paperwork called the carnet, which basically allows you to take a vehicle into a country without paying import tax. It works great if you leave and return to your home country, but I want to buy and sell a bike in Asia, so a normal carnet won't work. At the moment, the best option I can think of is to buy a very cheap bike, and then ditch it in a country that doesn't have too high of an import tax. I'll know more in the next week or so.

I also now have time to catch up on my website updates. I have several stories ready to go, so I'll be typing them in over the next couple of days. I also will update the last set of photos from my camera before it went swimming.

I did some digital camera shopping today, and it looks like I'll have no problems finding an adequate replacement. It will probably set me back about US$300, but such is the penalty for falling into a river.

I will be spending a lot of time on the internet for the next week or two, so I will be trying very hard to reply to all the messages that have been waiting for me over the past month or two. I should be easy to reach for the duration of time that I am here in Cape Town, which will be at least a week.

I also have come to realize that my email host is completely hopeless, so I will be working on revamping my entire email system so that I won't have so many problems in the future.


Copyright 2000 Peter Birch All Rights Reserved.