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MOTOREX Magazine 2011 92 EN

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REPORT Photos/text:

REPORT Photos/text: Ramona & Herbert Schwarz, Touratech AG Ramona and Herbert Schwarz used their trip to Southeast Asia not just for leisure, but also for field testing many products from the Touratech range. NO PLAN IS A GOOD PLAN For many motorbike fans, Touratech is synonymous with top-drawer equipment for their bike. For over 20 years now, the company has been developing, manufacturing and marketing a constantly expanding range of products, getting involved in Enduro/rally events and undertaking fascinating motorcycle tours. In all its activities, Touratech relies on well-known partners such as BMW and MOTOREX. Here, Ramona and Herbert Schwarz of Touratech invite you to accompany them on their 5,789-kilometer motorcycle tour across Southeast Asia. We have all been there: you plan a trip and want to see “everything” along the way – but there is a huge difference between seeing and experiencing. Thus, after years of parenting young children and sleep deprivation, Ramona and Herbert Schwarz decided to take a four-week time-out. On the road with their Enduro bikes in the traditional style: with time and a camera. Their destination lay in a place they had never been before: Southeast Asia. The varied tour would take in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. While Ramona decides on a BMW 800 GS Desierto F with a large tank, Herbert is taking a 1200 Adventure Desierto 3, the centerpiece of which is a new engine with a double overhead camshaft. Visas and carnets are quickly obtained, and booster vaccinations taken care of in five minutes. The BMWs are dispatched to the Far East one plane ahead. THE PLAN IS TO HAVE NO PLAN In the stress of everyday life, there is little time to make a detailed plan of the route. Consequently, our plan is: to have no plan, to let chance decide our road. We can both look back on many years of biking: Herbert has 30 years and 750,000 kilometers under his belt, and Ramona nine years and 200,000 kilometers! A bag containing various maps and travel guides finds its way into our hand luggage. Once there, we will get tips on routes from the local bikers and also, of course, from Peera, the dedicated Touratech importer for Thailand. HOSPITALITY WITHOUT BORDERS When Peera picks us up from the airport, he immediately sees that we are in urgent need of a coffee. Afterwards, he 10

A colorful, chaotic arrangement of fuel at one of the many bottle-based filling stations. The contents need to be put through a “sniff test” before fueling commences. and his friend help us with the customs clearance procedure for the BMWs. Peera is terrifically proud to have us as guests and does everything he can to make us feel at home in his country. He even takes a whole week off; the entire annual vacation entitlement for the average Thai. He is the best tour guide we could ever have wished for. FUEL FROM BOTTLES AND BARRELS Thanks to private fuel pumps, Southeast Asia has a high-density network of filling stations. The fuel either comes from a barrel with a hand pump or is poured into the tank from cola bottles. These containers are lined up along the road on wooden stands. Small, manageable amounts for the equivalent of 60 cents a liter. While Thailand has regular 95-octane petrol, the octane rating in Laos is not specified in any detail. The quality is either bad or really bad. But our BMWs have strong stomachs. In order to avoid filling up with diesel by mistake, we do a sniff test each time we refuel. We have to do this, as we speak neither Thai, nor Laotian, nor Cambodian. given us a note explaining that we are vegetarians in Thai and English, thus ensuring that not only our bikes, but also our stomachs get the right fuel to survive the trip. “Our stomachs get the right fuel too” PICTURE WITH A LADY ELEPHANT Meeting a wild elephant in broad daylight in the middle of the street has now become a rarity in Thailand. Sixty years ago, there were still 50,000 of them tramping through the jungle. With the ongoing clearance of this habitat, pachyderm numbers have experienced a radical A CRUNCHY, EXOTIC SNACK I had seen photos of deep-fried insects in a coffee-table book on Southeast Asia: huge bugs, cockroaches, water beetles – in fact, every kind of creepy-crawly imaginable. The simple thought of such protein-rich snacks is probably enough to turn the stomachs of many Europeans. As vegetarians, we prefer to concentrate on exotic fruits, rice with fresh vegetables and fragrant spices. Peera has There really is no accounting for taste – these crunchy insect snacks are served at the roadside in many areas. Nothing for Ramona! MOTOREX MAGAZINE I APRIL 2011 11



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