THAILAND (8 - 16 SEPT 2016)
My flight from UB transit in Hong Kong for few hours before the connecting flight with Cathay Pacific Airlines, and I finally arrived Bangkok at 8pm. I took a taxi to a hostel nearby the airport. After all the challenges in GDR, reaching here felt sooo blissful. Everything was easy when almost everyone spoke at least a lil English. Its easy to find my way around, easy to find a suitable place to eat, and easy to find a place to stay. Thailand‘s like my second home and its sooo good to be ‘home’.
I had few days to chillax in Thailand before my bike arrived, so I decided to go to Pattaya for 2 nights. There’re lots of things and sights to see here, but this is not my first time in this sex city so I only enjoyed the halal food (at last) and walked to the walking street at night which was filled with bars, sex businesses and sexy girls dancing at the poles. Well, not my kind of thing actually, so most of the time I prefer to just laze on the beach and watched people.
I returned to Bangkok by public bus and took the metro to Malaysian Embassy. One of the staff, Miss Aishah, who was linked to me by Madam Nurliza's friend, was kind enough to let me stay at her house even though she was away for vacation. It was the eve of Eid Qurban when I arrived, and I was lucky again that the person who gave me her house key also gave me some Eid delicacies to eat. Mmmmm…..soooo yummy…
Meanwhile, I had been in contact with Thai Yamaha Motor in Bangkok who was linked to me by Mr Lee CW from Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia. They were very thrilled to know that I had arrived and they offered to help. I was informed that the bosses also want to meet me. Since my bike had arrived, the offer to help was like winning a lottery which I couldn’t resist but accept happily. The next morning, Mr Nikhom and Miss Yi came to pick me up. They drove me to the airport to do the bike clearance.
It wasn’t easy to unite with my baby. Even with Mr Nikhom and Miss Yi to assist me and to be my interpreter, its still not easy, as both of them had zero experience on doing bike clearance. The clearance procedure was disrupted by the greedy staff's attitude at the entrance to the cargo complex which pissed me off. The staff insisted that I take the agent’s service which I declined. He (and the agent) said that its going to take a long time to do the clearance and the process is VERY difficult. I politely rejected the offer especially when the agent asked for THB3000 for his service (excluding the compulsory fees). They kinda forcing me by saying repeatedly its very difficult and refused to give me the FZ pass to enter the cargo complex. I’m beginning to lose my patience. They have no right to force me. I knew the staff will get some kind of commission from the agent if I fall for his 'threats'. Luckily I saw an officer and seek for help. Reluctantly the staff gave me the pass, but 1 hour already wasted for that.
The clearance procedure might not be very straight forward but its not so dead difficult either, only lots of to and fros from one building to another. As usual, the first place to go is the cargo office (Thai Cargo), to get the AWB copy and locate the respective warehouse where GD was kept. Then I had to go to the customs for declaration. Then back to Thai Cargo for documents signing and fees (THB1330 only), then go downstairs at the warehouse for more signatures, locate the crate, inspection, signatures again and walla...I finally got my baby back.
Since its already late by the time we’re done clearing GD, and its going to take quite some time to assemble the parts which were dismantled from the bike (to make the crate smaller in size), Mr Nikhom suggested that GD being brought back to the HQ on the company’s pickup truck. We were all very tired by then so I agreed to the suggestion. Mr Nikhom then sent me back to Msian Embassy. The next morning, both of them came again to pick me up and brought me to their HQ. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see that GD was done assembled and even the oil had been changed. Woww, that was so nice of them. Remember what I wrote in my previous post? There will surely be someone who will help, so do not worry too much that you're lack of the technical knowledge. All you need to do is to pray that everything will be smooth, and help will find its way to reach you :)
Then it was time for me to meet the bosses. I was given a warm welcome by the management, including Mr Atsumi who recently transferred here from Japan. Mr Atsumi was one of the important YMC Japan person whom Mr Lee CW from Yamaha Malaysia will contact to handle the support that I need during my GDR.
After that Mr Nikhom brought me for a sumptuous Thai cuisine lunch. The tomyam was to die for.
I left early the next day to escape the morning traffic. While riding my bike, I cant help smiling when recalling my first time riding in and out of Bangkok in 2012. The road was sooo heavy with traffic and being a newbie at that time, it was sooo stressful for me. Ever since then, I never want to enter Bangkok anymore. I rather make a big loop every time I want to ride to the east part of Thailand. Now, after all the challenges in GDR, after all the difficulties reading signboards which only have Cyrillic alphabets in Russia, after having to use my own survival skill to navigate my way when my GPS is of no help due to the frozen screen, after riding on scary big highways to enter or exit huge cities such as Seattle, Vegas, San Diego, Lima, BsAs, Ldn, Madrid, Rome, Tehran etc, Bangkok didnt seem so hard or scary anymore. Same goes to their long lorries which scared me most last time. Now, I'm not scared anymore. Its because I had experienced riding (and overtook) by much bigger trucks on I-5 (N & S) in California, which ran at 130kmh the least. Thats to tell how much I had gone through during this one year...
I exited Bangkok without difficulty and head south. It was a breeze when riding on the familiar Highway 4. I experienced baby wind along Prap Khiri Khan to Chumphon and theres lots of road works along this stretch, so one side of the road had to be shared with both. I checked in at a guest house in Chumphon just before a very heavy rain hit the area.
I didn’t sleep well last night. Perhaps I only managed sleep for one hour. Again, the reason was hate comments thrown to me by readers in the latest article about the success of GDR. It was very sickening to read what they wrote. Even though sleepy, I had 500kms to Dannok to do today. Dannok is a small town at the Thailand – Malaysian border. I cant wait to meet my friends who came all the way from KL to welcome me here, especially my best friend, Zana. I found Paramount Hotel, the hotel where we had agreed that all will stay here for the night. I met some bikers from Lanun Bikerz club, and the President, Jai (who is also Zana’s husband) at the lobby. It was a very hot day today and I felt like fainting, so Jai helped with my checking in and asked me to take a rest in my room. As I made my way to my room, I bumped into my close friends, Sue Rahman, Rosmawati and my bff Zana. It was a teary moment as we all hugged and kissed each other. It was like a dream to meet all my dearies again. I hugged Zana for a very long time. For a minute or so, nothing came from my lips except sobs and cries. We were hugging like a couple deeply in love, but please do not get us wrong. We were the bestest of friends. How I had missed her so much.
When I finally gained control of my tears and emotion, then only I noticed a figure in the background holding a video cam, capturing every moment of the scene. I heard her calling my name. Her voice sounded very familiar. Who was that? It looks and sounds like Deborah, my host when I was in Temecula. Is that really her? OMG, it was indeed her!!! I could see her hb, Mark standing by the door. OMG, OMG, OMG!!! I was screaming and crying and being emotional again, all at once as I hugged Deb tightly, while Deb just laughed and patted my back and said, “See, you made it. I know you can do it.” All these emotions drained me out very quickly. I just couldn’t believe it was really her. She and Mark flew all the way from USA to Malaysia just to welcome me home. It was unbelievable. I had to pinch myself few times to be sure that all this were real thing and I’m not dreaming. I can never imagine someone would do such thing for me.
After we’re done with crying, hugging and kissing, it was teasing and laughing again while sitting on the floor of the alley. Ohhh I loved my friends sooo much.
I met more friends after that, Yongsuzi and her hb, Lee Panjang (who helped to change my expired spark plug...HAHAHA), sis Mira Yaacob, and friends from Lanun Bikerz convoy. It was so nice of them to come more than 500kms from KL to meet me here. We had a nice chat over dinner and I was also interviewed by Thai TV.
FINALLY....MALAYSIA (16 SEPT 2016)
Again as the previous day, I only managed 1 hour sleep last night. No matter how tired I was, I just couldn’t put my eyes to sleep. Too many things distracted my mind. I woke up feeling dizzy, but its my big day today so I forced myself to stay focus. At 9.30am, all of us gathered outside the hotel with our machines and we make a move to the border. I stamped my passport at the Thailand’s immigration new building and surrendered the customs form. Then it was the Malaysian side and I was grinning from ear to ear to see the familiar Bukit Kayu Hitam border post. The customs officers had the privilege to interview me first as I need to get my carnet stamped at their office (as a proof that I had taken my bike back into Malaysia). The custom officers, including the immigrations congratulated me and took pics with me.
It was still early before call time, so all of us stopped for a while next to the immigration building. More bikers from Lanun and northern Yamaha FZ joined us. Jai gave instructions that 20 bikes will escort me while the rest will enter the venue first and wait for our arrival. Some of my fans and followers had been waiting for me since morning so they took the opportunity to take pics with me too. I felt like a superstar. HAHAHA sesekali, jangan marah yaa :)
At 11am, those who escorted me marched into the police station with our bikes (the place where Givi put up tents for my home coming event), with me taking the lead. While riding GD, my heart throbbed so fast and my eyes watered to see how grand was the welcome given by Givi Malaysia and my supporters who lined alongside of the road. Camera flashes blinded my eyes as the reporters (lots of them) tried to get the best shots. I was greeted by the State Assemblyman and Givi Malaysia Managing Director, Mr On Hai Swee. Too bad that Mr Joseph Perucca, Givi Overseas Operational Director, the one among very few who believed in me since the very beginning and never had any doubt of my ability, and also Edwin, Givi staff who put lots of effort for the home coming preparation, couldn’t be here during this special moment. Friends and biker friends from Lady Bikers Malaysia came to hug me, including my dear friend Mastura who came with her hb Ajax and their kids. I noticed not less than 60 big bikes parked at the venue and approximately 100 people gathered in and outside the tent. It all happened too fast and again I felt as if I’m in a dream.
After a series of speeches (which was interrupted by the arrival of my kids and the emotional hugging and tears scene again), media interviews, live TV phone call, and photo session with fans, friends and Givi team who worked very hard to organize the event, I made a move to my home town Ipoh, which was 300kms away.
Again, I was taking the lead with 10 bikers from Lanun trailing behind. They accompanied me to my mom’s house. My mom was not feeling well, so she couldn’t be at the border for the home coming event. Surprisingly, there were also reporters waiting at my mom’s house. It seemed that my GDR has sparked a phenomenon in the country.
I remembered the day when I left my country one year back. Not a single media write about me. What more to have any journalist send me off at KLIA. It was a very quiet and simple send off among friends. Sadly one year later, there were even some of them who sent me off last time didnt seem keen to be my friend any longer for only they-know-what reason. And not just that, there were also lady biker friends whom I used to be so close with them before the ride, now they are drifting apart. I wonder why? I wonder why? What had I done wrong?
Tiredness, the lack of sleep and repeatedly emotional moments are taking its toll on me. By the time I hugged my mom and my sister, I can only shed tears of happiness. I thanked God for keeping me safe during my journey and allowed me to come home safely. After all the challenges in GDR when there were countless of times that I thought I am not going to meet my family again, its hard to believe that today, I am back into the arms of my loved ones.
With that, my GDR has now come to an end. Million thanks to Givi Malaysia for organizing a wonderful home coming event for me. A very memorable event for me to cherish forever in my life. Thanks to all individuals who has given a hand and came to celebrate my victory day, especially Deb and Mark who came all the way from USA. My special thanks also go to my sponsors, Givi Msia, Givi SRL Italy, Hevik, and Hong Leong Yamaha Motor. Also many thanks to my family, Lanun Bikerz, LBM, Dato Raja and Datin Yan, all my hosts, donors, friends, fans and followers for the support and prayers throughout my ride. May Allah pays all of you for your help and kindness.
All memories of blood, sweat, pain and tears in GDR is now a history not only to me, but to my country as well, for me being the first Muslim woman who rode solo around the world. GDR is not just a ride to enjoy seeing the world, but it’s a spiritual journey to correct negative perspective about Islam. And the road is my best teacher from where I learned a lot about life and people. I came back now a different person. Again, a much better person….for my people, my beloved country and my religion…..
A journey of 1001 stories…..
THE END OF RIDE