Mark Gillett

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Modes of Transport

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Wow! I have travelled to lots countries over many years and now on my way from home to the airport, Charles de Gaulle, I started to think about the number of different modes of transport I have taken. The reason? I was sitting on the back of a Motocab going way too fast….

The experience was well worth the money and I will come back to that in a bit!

As a child I got to try a tractor or two. I have also been on the back of a few other motorbikes like from a Kawasaki 900, Norton 950 that I drove! And a Vespa here in Paris

I trawled back in my mind to India and my journeys around Asia. I have taken the famous tuk tuks in Thailand and the fabulously fast river taxis with a car engine mounted to the back. These were incredibly exhilarating.. In India I travelled on the bus system and trains where barging on to get your space is the norm, then chaining your bags to the seat so they don’t get stolen. I travelled on the mountain buses in Nepal that were so close to the edge of the road where all you could see was a 500mdrop off! This was the trail to Jiri, the road head before a mammoth trek to Everest. I always chose to sit on the roof for the best view…….

In the Philippines I regularly took motorbikes sometimes 4 up! And a jeep into the hills of Banaui and Segada from Manila fighting the mud trails along the way.

I travelled by elephant many years ago and can’t remember if it was Nepal or Thailand. I think it was northern Thailand in the mid 80’s.

I have ridden on a horse a few times much to my daughters amusement and not by choice as I am allergic to them. Camels in the Sinai, 4×4’s in the sand dunes of the Empty Quarter and Wahiba Sands of Oman many times.

One of my fun trips was in a police car in the US. I was hitching a ride and they stopped asked if I was ok with all my bags… “Yes, sir. Fine, thank you.” was my reply. “Would you like a ride with us?” was the next question…. I accepted and whilst in the back of the car they radioed around all the local hotels for me, as I hadn’t yet got anywhere to stay… They dropped me and helped with my bags.

I have taken small 2-seated planes to the Scilly Isles, another from Portugal to Gibraltar for lunch many years ago – I was a guest! I have taken helicopters in the UK and in the Sahara.

A few years ago I parachuted of a mountain in Turkey in tandem and got some great shots on my way down.

In New Zealand I tried the Shotover Jet – a high-powered jet boat that rips down a canyon a little wider than the boat at an amazing speed. I recall something like 70 mph… Then the driver turns the boat on the spot and explains how he can drive in 2 inches of water. Then demonstrates this feat with great agility halting the vessel some two inches from a canyon waterfall.

And now at 47 I find myself on a Motocab from home to Charles de Gaulle airport. Weaving in and out of the traffic at breakneck speed. I have a huge smile on my face and peer over at the speedometer whilst texting my wife and then a friend in England! At first it was a mere 60 kph until he was free of traffic. Then he managed to hit 140!

It was about now with may face skin being forced back like I am in a wind tunnel or experiencing huge g-force, I pulled down my visor so I can open my eyes again… Not sure if it was the right thing to do as his weaving was intensifying with the speed. I was still smiling! At one point the huge Moto (Halrey D type massive motorbike) was leaning over as if in a race as we careered round the bend up to terminal one! Finally we stopped and he got off, looked at me with a huge smile and took my money. It cost €84! So what? It was another experience I would not have missed.

I won’t make a habit of traveling this way as it’s not in my budget but I did think it was worth it this time. Plus I got to the airport on time…….

Written by markgillett

May 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Posted in Travel

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