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Old 17th June 2011, 19:01   #16
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Default Re: ‘Who let the Bulls out’ and look where they been!!!!!

Ooh!!! A football themed travelogue. Love the way you write padikpanther. Keep em coming!!!

Btw, were the bikes already in Mombasa when you were in PE or Jo'burg? or did it arrive when you reached Kenya?
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Old 17th June 2011, 20:20   #17
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Default Re: ‘Who let the Bulls out’ and look where they been!!!!!

Hey Rajesh,

Wonderful is the word!!!

We are not only reliving the world cup days but also feeling ourselve in the middle of action!! Keep it coming, it will definitely inspire other BHPians for an "African Journey"
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Old 18th June 2011, 00:52   #18
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Default Re: ‘Who let the Bulls out’ and look where they been!!!!!

Hats off to you for the sheer passion, courage & determination. Excellent T'logue.

The pics reminded me my days in Joburg and the trips I had to Bloemfontein, Durban,Capetown etc and the Safaris

SA is one of the beautiful country blessed with nature. You can have a very enjoyable & memorable stay there, if you know how to stay safe.

Glued to this thread. Rated 5 stars

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajay_satpute View Post
\BTW, What is Tata Motors doing in Johannesburg?
Tata motors have a good presence in SA, if not huge. Esp in Joburg.
There were many Tata indigo Marina types running as cabs, owned by a famous Cab company (Safe cabs, IIRC). Also, have seen indigos used by TCS employees for daily commute.

Last edited by nfsfreak : 18th June 2011 at 00:54.
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Old 18th June 2011, 16:30   #19
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Default Re: ‘Who let the Bulls out’ and look where they been!!!!!

Fantastic Thread with wonderful narration & pictures.

Keep 'em coming...
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Old 20th June 2011, 11:36   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Ooh!!! A football themed travelogue. Love the way you write padikpanther. Keep em coming!!!

Btw, were the bikes already in Mombasa when you were in PE or Jo'burg? or did it arrive when you reached Kenya?
Thanks a lot addyhemmige. Since the original itinerary had gone for a toss, we rescheduled it so that we reach SA just before the World Cup matches (the ones we had tickets for), meantime the bikes had reached Mombasa but waiting for the custom clearance.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Hey Rajesh,

Wonderful is the word!!!

We are not only reliving the world cup days but also feeling ourselve in the middle of action!! Keep it coming, it will definitely inspire other BHPians for an "African Journey"
Thanks a lot Fauji.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nfsfreak View Post
Hats off to you for the sheer passion, courage & determination. Excellent T'logue.

The pics reminded me my days in Joburg and the trips I had to Bloemfontein, Durban,Capetown etc and the Safaris

SA is one of the beautiful country blessed with nature. You can have a very enjoyable & memorable stay there, if you know how to stay safe.

Glued to this thread. Rated 5 stars

Tata motors have a good presence in SA, if not huge. Esp in Joburg.
There were many Tata indigo Marina types running as cabs, owned by a famous Cab company (Safe cabs, IIRC). Also, have seen indigos used by TCS employees for daily commute.
Thanks a ton Karthik for the star rating and +1 to what you said about SA . SA is really beautiful and the people are friendly and easy going (provided you keep safety as the first priority). Thanks a ton for helping me answer ajay satpute’s question. To add to it – Tata Motors has presence in J’burg for more than 10 years earlier for their buses and trucks, but today as Karthik has mentioned for Indicas, Indigos, Indigo Station wagons also


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Originally Posted by GearOn View Post
Fantastic Thread with wonderful narration & pictures.

Keep 'em coming...
Thanks GearOn
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Old 20th June 2011, 16:26   #21
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Continuing from the previous post:

By the way in this whole episode, LUCK did smile at us TWICE - we were BLESSED to watch Brazil vs. Holland at Port Elisabeth – the best match in the tournament and we had probably the best seats we could have asked for.

That night we retired early as early morning we had to start towards J’burg for the next match covering almost 1000+ kms. The distance was never bothersome as the roads were probably at par with the best globally. But without a GPS we found it a tad difficult to locate the stadium. As in PE, J’burg Municipal Corporation too had offered free bus services form various locations in the city to the soccer stadium. We parked our car in a relatively safe location and took the bus service to the stadium.


The next one was icing on the cake – Spain vs. Uruguay GODS of football like – Fabregas, Pepe Reina, David Silva, Iker Casillas, Xavi, Xavi Alonso, David Villa and Andres Iniesta were warming up and playing within few meters from us. Even while writing this I’m experiencing goose bumps. This was the match we could see the Spanish Gods of soccer from close quarters and what a match it was.

GODS in Action....Spain team warming up at the nearer post and Paraguay at the other end..

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The Aerial Camera which was responsible for the Birds Eye view of the match...

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Needless to say - the Spain fans outnumbered the South Americans...

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Pepe Reina (in pic) helping Iker Casillas (not in pic) with the warm up...

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Fabregas and other substitutes warming up...Also seen in full track suit and his back to the camera - David Silva.

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AND THE GODS - From Left to Right - Xavi, Xavi Alonso, David Villa and Andres Iniesta

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Cheerleaders from India L to R - Dinesh, myself, Ajinkya

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Cheerleaders from India have some Spanish company

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Fabregas being called to replace Torres...

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But the most interesting part of the day (actually late night) was yet to be experienced. After the match we managed to reach the place our car was parked. But from there we found it really difficult to reach the hotel that we had booked ourselves in. At last we stopped a police car and asked for directions. There were two cops who were on their way home after duty. But they volunteered to help us and escorted us for 40 mins continuously talking with the hotel owner for directions and finally ensured that we reached the right hotel and said us good bye only after we were safely inside the premises.

The way we experienced South Africa - The 2010 World Cup has come and gone, and we believe South Africa made the world notice the perfection with which they organized the biggest sporting event on the planet. The hero of this success is the local African, who had a lot to prove. There had been great deal of negativity about South Africa being awarded the right to host the 2010 World Cup. The people of South Africa proved them all wrong through their patience and perseverance. We are proud of the South African people and the success of the tournament. The Rainbow Nation is now on the world map for all the right reasons.

We were at the World Cup in South Africa –it was the fulfillment of a long cherished dream. The stadiums were beautiful, the security was good, the football was entertaining and the South Africans were friendly and kind. I guess, this was the experience of all the tourists.

Speaking to South Africans throughout the event was a joy, because each of them was taking responsibility for the World Cup. They were all proud hosts ensuring every visitor had a good time. We sincerely thank entire South Africa for making this tournament as special as we hoped it would be. A fantastic trip and what stood out for us was the friendliness of the people. The locals were always ready with a smile and eager to help. We have never been to such a friendly, open country. Of course South Africa has its problems but the spirit of the people is such that we know they will finally overcome. Our perception of South Africa has changed completely since the tournament and we know we are not the only ones. The country put on a superb show for the world and now we see South Africa with new eyes.

Right from the experience of renting a car, travelling from J’burg to Port Elisabeth (1000+ kms one way) and back was unbeatable and we never felt unsafe. Never even once, we got a feeling a being cheated or being followed or tracked. The entire country features spacious roads and driving discipline which wouldn't seem out of place in Europe. The only cues we were in South Africa were the vibrant way people greeted/interacted or accepted us. In fact the roads were so good that it became difficult for us to not to get bored. We, back in India, never get a chance to relax while driving. Here the case was just opposite. In all, we covered more than 2500+ kms in South Africa and there was not a single adverse incident.. We hate to call this nation a developing nation as they are far ahead of us (Indians) as far as civic and traffic sense is concerned
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Old 21st June 2011, 15:21   #22
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Continuing from the previous post:


Kenya & Tanzania –


The World cup hangover was too strong to get rid of (as if we want to get rid of it). But somethings equally close to our hearts had already reached Mombasa and were waiting to breathe free. We flew back from J’burg to Nairobi and then took an overnight bus service to Mombasa. The bus was dilapidated, actually worse than our State Transport buses but every seat had a working seat belt!!!! Next day morning we met Mr. Tabith, our shipping agent in Mombasa and immediately hit the docks. There the caged monsters were waiting to be unleashed. With almost tears in eyes, we hugged our Bullets who had survived such a long journey. The un-caging part created a lot of furore on the docks as the people were not used to see brown people riding big bikes – yes the bullets were considered to be bikes as – 1) you don’t get to see more than 100 cc bikes in Kenya and 2) the speedometer had the range till 160 Kmph – which to them implied BIG BIKE. Fortunately there were no repairs to be done and the bulls were raring to make their impression (literally) on Afro soil.

First Glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro on the way to Nairobi from J'burg

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The Bull being unleashed

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Getting ready for a new adventure..

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Even the Chef of the Hotel we were staying in was curious to know whats going on

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The Security Guard wanted to help us get our bikes ready. We had great difficulty convincing him not to do so

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On your mark, set...

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Off we go.....on the way to Voi (Kenya) from Mombasa (Kenya)

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Voi (Kenya) to Taveta (Kenya), start of the real test of the Machine and the Man... Approx 90 kms of dirt road (I hate to call it a Road)

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Anybody interested in participating in Dakar can do a trial run over here

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Inspite of the road, the view around was really scenic...

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Time to relax a bit...even the Bike needs a breather

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In Mombasa we met Mr. Desai, an expat of 40 years. When we told him about our plans he was startled. He described the first hour out of Mombasa as 'the worst road I've ever driven on. It's a national disgrace. I'm embarrassed every time I take it'. So we confirmed the same with Mr. Tabith, now no more just our shipping agent but a close friend too. We thought that he might have been overstating it a bit. He wasn't. The main artery between Kenya's biggest port, its capital and the rest of East Africa was potholed, dusty and sheer disgrace. We started from Mombasa at around 12.30 pm, thanks to an 11th hour suggestion from Mr. Tabith for our vehicle insurance which is mandatory in Kenya. We reached Voi around 4.30 pm. It's a medium-sized town at the edge of the Tsavo East National Park. Till this point the roads were absolutely perfect (just as good or as bad as Indian roads)

Having had an hour of smooth highway we were hoping for more of the same on the 147km trip to Taveta. Alas, it wasn't to be. We saw a road that had been well constructed about 50 years ago, with a solid layer of rock at its foundation. The only problem was that the seal had long-since been worn away and rocks and potholes were all that remained. The rocks/road had permanent tracks on it, as if a few multi-axel trucks had run on it, while the lava was still hot!!!!!!!!!!

It was one of the worst trips we've ever taken. Every nut and bolt shook and rattled. Our faces were like an orchestra of pain - permanent grimaces the intensity of which changed only by the depth of the pothole and the resulting shockwaves running up our spines.

Driving our bikes, the way we learnt on Indian Roads and traffic, constantly took what ended as the wrong line. Whatever and however hard you tried it was difficult to drive above 15km/hr with super fine dust adding to the misery. Since it was the start our journey we were taking utmost care of our bikes and ourselves, but how long???? Before we had realised, we were already driving as if we didn’t own the vehicles and had determined to punish it as much as possible.

This is a video of the quality of road and imagine around 140 kms of it (this is downloaded from the Net, not shot by us)


Taita Taveta County: State of Voi Mwatate Road - Video

Taita Taveta County: State of Voi Mwatate Road - Video

Part of this road runs through the Tsavo National Park and the remaining close to the park. We had read and also been told/warned that wild elephants would be a common site and STAY AWAY FROM THEM. Though we never intended to challenge these warnings, its difficult to understand how far ‘AWAY’ is really safe. And no sooner we could experience it. The road was really bad and the sand was extremely superfine which resulted into our bikes creating a dust cloud behind us. So, we were riding with a gap approximately 50-75 mts between each of us. At a particular point Dinesh was leading, myself in the middle and Ajinkya at the rear. And before we could realise, Ajinkya shot ahead of us with full speed (as much was possible) waving at us to speed up and follow him. We abided and took a halt only after about 2 odd kms. When Ajinkya signaled us to halt, the first thing which happened was me and Dinesh bombarding him with the reason to speed up. The engines still gunning and his eyes still scouting the road, he told that a huge tusker – probably didn’t like the thumping noise of the Bulls and decided to warn them off. With its head jerking and tossing, tail raised, ears spread the elephant charged towards Ajinkya from a patch which was running parallel to the road. Although he was around 75-100 mts away, the sight was quite scary and that was the reason Ajinkya sped up. Later on, while talking to locals we got to know that it could also be prank by the elephants, kind of ‘3 bikers ko sirf hul de ke bhagaya’, but we were not akin to their sense of humour..

Finally, after more than five hours, we arrived at Taveta and the Tanzanian border. It was a typical, dusty border town. We were more than eager to reach Moshi as that was the place where we could find slightly better accommodation. We were desperate to catch the world cup match between Germany and Spain. So checked in the first hotel that we came across and it turned out to be much better than what we had expected that too overlooking Mt Kilimanjaro. But both sets of immigration officials were positively pleasant - the Tanzanian guy not only issued our visa and offered some basic lessons in Swahili. Guess the kindness was majorly due to our bikes which were BIG compared to what they normally come across and may be the colour of our skin too helped a bit.


The next day after a lazy breakfast – thanks to the match which lasted almost till the midnight (local time) and the previous day ordeal of driving through the most pathetic road on Earth, we started for Arusha.
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Old 28th June 2011, 13:24   #23
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Continuing from the previous post:

Arusha, Tanzania

Arusha is the second largest city in Tanzania, and the safari capital of the country, situated between the most popular game parks, with Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater to the west and Mt. Kilimanjaro to the east. It is here that almost everyone comes to book a tour of the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti or a trek up Mt Kilimanjaro and bogus as well as reputable tour operators vie for business. We were pounced upon by two groups, pushing us to stay here, or there, where they could then more relaxedly sell their offerings. By forming groups they can more readily surround the quarry, fending off intruders and substantiate what one is saying by referring to another, supposedly from another company thus bamboozling the target. Not interested in anything they were selling, it was great to watch the polished performance. We already had informed our friend in Arusha – Mr. Ronald Vincent about our arrival and we had requested him to decide out itinerary for us. We reached Arusha around early noon and then spent most of the next 60 mins searching for a good (cheap) hotel for us. Since it was all stag party we didn’t mind a bit run down ones – our only condition was it has to be safe and clean. With Ronald as our guide we could manage that a bit easily.



On the outskirts of Arusha @ USA Inn (pronounced Oosa Inn named after the local river)


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Here comes Ronald


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the bikes resting next to their big brother


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Old 28th June 2011, 13:54   #24
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Default Re: ‘Who let the Bulls out’ and look where they been!!!!!

This thread is right now my most favorite thread on TeamBHP. Its just too interesting to read about a complete unknown territory (atleast for me) and how you guys managed to move through these places. I can imagine how emotional it must have been seeing the bikes for the first time at the docks.

I am getting a feeling that you guys should get a copyright on this thread. Someone might flick the story and make a movie out of it which will do a business of crores.

The actual Football match photos make me go mad. It must be THE most amazing experience to watch a football world cup match live and that too with such an amazing adventerous backdrop.

I am glued to the thread. Keep it coming.

Last edited by ajay_satpute : 28th June 2011 at 13:55.
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Old 28th June 2011, 14:21   #25
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Default Re: ‘Who let the Bulls out’ and look where they been!!!!!

Wow! What a beautiful story. Only, this one is real!
This is a unique journey and one to be cherished for long, I am quite sure.

The feeling of seeing an MH12 passing bike, in another country! Didnt even know, it was possible.

Please continue. Thanks a ton for sharing this.
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Old 28th June 2011, 15:13   #26
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wow!!! great update and awesome pics padikpanther!
feels so good seeing the pics of the football match!
keep the updates flowing

btw, is ajinkya related to piyush chawla (cricketer)? there's so much resemblance
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Old 29th June 2011, 11:16   #27
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Default Re: ‘Who let the Bulls out’ and look where they been!!!!!

Hey padikpanther,
Firstly congratulations for the awesome travelogue and experience.
And secondly, thanks, for telling people like us subtly that you ought to just follow your passion, come what may.
Feeling motivated.
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Old 30th June 2011, 13:23   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajay_satpute View Post
This thread is right now my most favorite thread on TeamBHP. Its just too interesting to read about a complete unknown territory (atleast for me) and how you guys managed to move through these places. I can imagine how emotional it must have been seeing the bikes for the first time at the docks.

I am getting a feeling that you guys should get a copyright on this thread. Someone might flick the story and make a movie out of it which will do a business of crores.

The actual Football match photos make me go mad. It must be THE most amazing experience to watch a football world cup match live and that too with such an amazing adventerous backdrop.

I am glued to the thread. Keep it coming.
Hi Ajay, the moment we saw our bikes was really emotional and when we got to know that they were in great shape, it was the icing on the cake - as we had provided for some time and efforts to the damage that could have been caused during the transportation, but as said earlier, in many cases LUCK was on our side (except for the delay bit) and for the Film part – if someone really makes a movie on this and they do pay us some royalty – the finances for the next bike ride is taken care of and you’ll be most welcome to be part of it


Quote:
Originally Posted by Swanand Inamdar View Post
Wow! What a beautiful story. Only, this one is real!
This is a unique journey and one to be cherished for long, I am quite sure.

The feeling of seeing an MH12 passing bike, in another country! Didnt even know, it was possible.

Please continue. Thanks a ton for sharing this.
Hi Swanand, taking MH-12 across the boundaries was definitely a proud moment, but carrying the Indian flag was a bigger and prouder moment. Sincerely envy the sportsmen who get to sing the national anthem while wearing the national colours..

Quote:
Originally Posted by figo_united View Post
wow!!! great update and awesome pics padikpanther!
feels so good seeing the pics of the football match!
keep the updates flowing

btw, is ajinkya related to piyush chawla (cricketer)? there's so much resemblance
Hi Figo United, it’s no sweat guessing that you are a soccer buff and we are actually more than happy sharing the match pics. Pleasure is all ours. Ajinkya (although not a team-bhp member) was not happy you comparing him to a cricketer , he JUST HATES CRICKET (so do I). He wouldn’t had objected if looks wise you had mentioned any damn not so good looking soccer player (just a joke, pls take it in the right sense, no hard feelings at any end). By the way sincerely liked the way you have structured your travelogue. In hindsight I could have got some tips on how to do it. If and when, I am part of a bike trip next, will definitely keep your travelogue structure as a template. Hope that’s fine with you


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Hey padikpanther,
Firstly congratulations for the awesome travelogue and experience.
And secondly, thanks, for telling people like us subtly that you ought to just follow your passion, come what may.
Feeling motivated.
Hi Rahul, thanks for the kind words. Sincerely there was no attempt to tell anybody anything, we don’t think we are qualified for that - the basic objective was - in case any one is attempting something similar, he/she/they could learn from our blunders/misfortunes. Anyways thanks a ton for mentioning that you are motivated. That’s the best compliment anybody can get, but its also the most difficult thing to say these words to someone. Thanks once again for saying it.
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Old 30th June 2011, 16:39   #29
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Hi Figo United, it’s no sweat guessing that you are a soccer buff and we are actually more than happy sharing the match pics. Pleasure is all ours.
You guessed spot on, I'm a huuge Man united fan. I take great inspiration from your story in accomplishing my dream visit to Old trafford. Hoping that it happens this year!

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Ajinkya (although not a team-bhp member) was not happy you comparing him to a cricketer , he JUST HATES CRICKET (so do I). He wouldn’t had objected if looks wise you had mentioned any damn not so good looking soccer player (just a joke, pls take it in the right sense, no hard feelings at any end).
Ha ha, sorry about that. The resemblance stuck me as soon as I saw him. To make up for it, I will surely make an effort to find a footballer having some resemblance with him and post here

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Originally Posted by padikpanther View Post
By the way sincerely liked the way you have structured your travelogue. In hindsight I could have got some tips on how to do it. If and when, I am part of a bike trip next, will definitely keep your travelogue structure as a template. Hope that’s fine with you
Thanks a lot, and no problems whatsoever if you follow the template, when you are coming up with such 5 star travelogues
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Old 30th June 2011, 17:16   #30
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Hey padikpanther,

You helped me relive my days (actualy close to 6 months) in Tanzania. I was consulting for a local telecom operator( the green one if you know it ) in Dar-es-salaam. The weather is good and people are warm, and the Flora and Fauna are the best I have ever seen(save Trinidad and Tobago). Eagerly waiting for more.. keep it flowing.
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