Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................




Post 192: Departing Toronto, Canada


I've ridden more than 27,000 miles and along the way I've learned some very important lessons. I've discovered that 'Intoxication' and 'Incident' are directly related, .. if fact in my own small world they've become inseparable bed fellows, .... cause and effect, ... action and reaction. In Croatia the young swinging couple had been as drunk as I, ... the scuffle and romantic advances back at Lake Tahoe had been fuelled by drink and weed, (Mark & Muriel, not me). On my first night on the streets of Bangkok I'd been drinking; not to excess but definitely to capacity, when I'd foolishly agreed to spend a day working as a Taxi Bike. Back in New York State I'd spent an evening drinking with a Ladies Pool Team at a bar on the wrong side of the tracks, ... it wasn't an actual 'riot' and it certainly didn't involve any romance, from either side, but it was certainly the most riotous evening that I've enjoyed here in North America. I learned a whole new vocabulary that evening and proved once and for all, ... if proof were ever needed, .... that Englishmen are reasonably crap at playing pool but even worse at drinking beer. In Yosemite I'd been drinking with an English teacher who'd sneaked away from his charges for a secret smoke when all hell had erupted. A bear had climbed into a camper van, ... his students were running wild, ... half of them calling for a 'Ranger', .. the other half calling for 'Video Cameras'. The lesson that I've learned here is that I have two basic choices in life. I can stop drinking and lead the quiet life that my age ought to dictate, .... or alternatively, ....... I can forget the quiet life, carry on drinking socially and have a much more interesting journey.

On Saturday 1st of November I learned that even though I'm travelling, there are times when I need to be more aware of both the time and the date. Airlines run to specific timetables, .... my laid back approach to what day it might be just doesn't work when I'm trying to catch an International flight. On a positive note, ..... when I had to drop the bike off this morning at Toronto International Airport, I knew exactly where to take it.

Another important lesson that I've learned is that when I feel that something needs to be done, .. I should stop procrastinating and just do it. In Russia the Triumph's immobilizer had created problems when in close proximity to radio masts. The same thing had happened a couple of times when crossing New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee, ...... but still I did nothing to resolve the problem. Yesterday in a car park close to my motel, I stripped and cleaned the bike, a requirement for the air freight, ..... i thought about removing the alarm system, .... but I didn't do it, ... I was worried that the piercing sound would attract unwanted attention. This morning I rode the lightweight and shiny clean Tiger into the bonded warehouse of Cargo Airport Services (CAS) ready for freighting, ...... but there was one minor problem. With the battery disconnected, the alarm 'bleeps' loudly and intermittently. To the professionals at CAS, ... this was not good news, .... and for me it was even worse news. I spent an hour in their car park learning how to disconnect, bypass and then dispose of the 'bleeping' alarm and immobilizer. I should have done this in the depths of Siberia where the sound a piercing alarm would have attracted no attention, ....... but I'd procrastinated and done nothing. Today I discovered that it was actually a lot easier to do than I'd imagined, if fact for an approved security device, ..... it was actually frighteningly simple. Announcing to the world that all security devices have now been permanently removed from the Triumph is perhaps not the best thing to do. I'm returning to London, the motorcycle theft capital of Europe, ..... the bike is now defenseless, ..... but I've told you now, it's too late. I hope that this isn't an expensive lesson waiting to be learned, ... if the Tiger gets stollen at this late stage, .... I'll be more than slightly miffed.

Perhaps the most important lesson of all relates to the generosity of friends and strangers. If you've followed this Blog then your well aware of the random acts of generosity that Alan and I have encountered along the way, ... often from those who seemingly have the least to give. Today has been an amazing day in the 'Generosity Diary' of Poor Circulation. Firstly, CAS here in Toronto who have been amazingly helpful, .. have waived there usual handling charges. PBS International, the handling agents at Gatwick, have made a very similar gesture by reducing their usual fees to just 17 pounds. I have no prior relationship with these companies, ... and unless I'm a very lucky boy I will not be travelling this way in the future, ..... yet still they have helped. To Stephen Gilbert of PBS International and Charu of CAS here in Toronto, ... I thank you. To cap off this day of amazing gestures, an anonymous sponsor has just donated $1,000 to St Teresa's Hospice through my Just Giving page. This journey might be coming to an end, .... but the generosity and lessons are not.

www.justgiving.com/geoffgthomas

2 comments:

donkeyote said...

geoff - i'll certainly drink to that!

Tom Waits said...

i'm gonna write a song about it