Day 89 Korea!

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Public transport sucks. That’s the only way to see it. I’d rather be fixing a puncture in a thunderstorm than hanging around a ferry port. It’s all been quite easy, but there’s so much waiting and carrying luggage. Will have more of this with flights soon, not looking forward to that. Let me stick all my gear on the back of the bike and ride, it’s so much more enjoyable. Still, I’m in Korea. Have only seen the inside of the ferry terminal, but I’m here. Mobile phone doesn’t work over here, cash machine won’t accept my card, but I’m in Korea!

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The truck arrives, and there’s a nerve wracking moment where I have to ride onto a pallet and sit there on the bike while it’s raised up to the truck bed by a fork lift. The bike is strapped down and I ride along to the crating company.

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Wendy rings and drops the bombshell that she doesn’t take cards, so I’m going to have a panic job getting hold of enough cash. Arriving at the crating company I’m a bit disappointed to see that another Kudu expeditions tour is here in front of me. I’m at the back of a queue of 7 bikes, so there’s no chance I’ll be done in time to get to a hotel early and organise cash.

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It’s amazing watching the crating guys hand build made to measure crates for each bike, but I wish they’d do it faster. The Kudu boys must have money to burn. They’re all on BMWs with all the gear and have paid a fortune to the organiser. And, they haven’t had the full experience. If you let someone else do all the organising, route planning, and you just follow along, then I think you’re really missing out on the experience. Even worse, they’re in a group of 15 so they have very little interaction with the locals. Even with one other I had less interaction than I do on my own. I wouldn’t do it their way, not even if I had their money. Usually when I arrive somewhere I stand out, it’s unusual, a rarity. Kind of spoils the impact when everyone’s already just seen 15 bikes go through….

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I didn’t expect to be at the back of a queue for crating but I also didn’t expect to be here so early. The crating guys get on a roll, helped by having 5 identical bmws to do in one go, and suddenly my bike is on a pallet. The Kudu boys help lift the bike while I remove the wheels. I’ve already dropped the bars, removed the mudguard, mirrors, number plate and hand guards, and it packs down pretty small, which is important for the shipping cost. Packing in my panniers and other gear turns out to be easier than expected too.

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I feared I’d either be here all night or have to come back tomorrow but by 10 it’s done, and as another unexpected bonus of having the Kudu guys around, I share their taxi into town. Thanks Ian and co, you made things a lot easier for me!

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Then I’m at the hotel, and any worries about getting cash evaporate when I get in the luxurious 18th floor room with a stunning view over Seoul with huge video advertising screens and neon lights. It really is a totally different world and a very new experience for me. I just hope I can sort out paying for the shipping and still have time to go to Tokyo because I think that really will be an amazing experience.