Chapter 1
UK, Germany, France
And He’s off: Last mail from home

A month late and many £££s over budget

Well there it is. Tomorrow at 9.21am I'm due to hop on the Eurostar at Folkestone and head south on the first leg of my Round the World motorcycle journey. (Actually it's visiting some friends in Paris and then stopping off at my parents in Germany to do a full service on the bike and try to prise a visa out of the Sudanese Embassy in Bonn.)

I'm only about a month late and many £££s over budget. I'll fill you in later on the gory details of my own ineptitude, first dealings with African bureaucracy and general frustrations with silly problems and the resulting inertia.

Later… Lenin, Trotsky, Fitzgerald and Hemingway

Am presently drinking a glass of red wine and writing this sitting outside 'La Closerie des Lilas' in Paris. This is a cafe where Lenin, Trotsky, Fitzgerald and Hemingway hung out. 'Our Ernie' (if I may call him that!?) used to sit here in the mornings and write. He rewrote 'The Sun also Rises' here. Having myself read 'A Moveable Feast', an autobiographical account of his time in Paris in the 1920s, quite a few pages of which being set just here, I feel quite honoured to be able to tap away on my Psion palmtop myself. All I need to do now is humm 'Parisian Walkways' by Phil Lynott and I will have totally lost the plot.

This morning I wandered around the Arab Quarter and visited Jim, Yves, Edith and Oscar etc. at the Pere Lachaise bone yard. There was even a rainstorm, which caused me to sing 'Riders on the Storm', but I stopped because I knew Mr M would be turning in his grave.

Top of Page

Mmmh, this wine does taste really good!


Anyway, I think I'm digressing slightly. As you may have gathered, I've arrived safely in Paris at Curly and Megan's yesterday, having had 3 hours sleep the night before (because I was packing until 3 in the morning - nothing like leaving everything until the last minute) and a rather uneventful journey. Considering my sleep deprivation, I was rather surprised to be so awake. Probably something to do with euphoria and adrenaline.

You should try it some time: Leave a month late because you and others can't get their act together and finally arrive at a friends' house in Paris to welcoming faces and good food and wine. No wonder my mood was like this.

This is being written in a Street Cafe (rather than an Internet Cafe) because I managed to connect the Psion to a local Paris Compuserve internet number. Just as well, considering the hassle and expense experienced, paying for and setting this machine up. I'd be very surprised if it works this well throughout my whole trip.

Tomorrow it's off to the Deutschland to see my parents, do a service on the bike and hopefully (!) acquire a Sudanese visa (wish me luck!). Then it's tout droit au direction du sud, with a little stop off chez mes cousins Steven et Elizabeth in Lyon.

Later still… Without a Sudanese visa


I trust you are all well and watered. After a week in Germany chez mes parents doing up the bike, you find me in Lyon visiting Cousin Steven and Elizabeth and generally enjoying the comfortable life as only the French can.

The bike is in top shape and the new needle jets in the carbs mean that the oil companies' share prices will soon be dropping as I'm now no longer propping them up. The 800 clicks from my parent's house, via Bonn (to pick up my passport - without a Sudanese visa!) to Lyon, trundling along at 110kmh, were shall we say 'rather boring'.

Top of Page

Foreign policy initiatives


Oh yes, visas. I have learnt a new rule of diplomacy. When somebody asks you for a visa, you say 'yes'. Then, 6 to 8 weeks later when nothing has materialised (as you have receive no authorisation from Khartoum), you offer to give the person concerned their money back! That way you never say 'no'. Easy really. All you do is muck people about.

British and American citizen's visa applications are referred to Khartoum. This may have something to do with a certain bit of American imperialist gunboat diplomacy when Tony's bedfellow Bill sent bombers to Sudan the other month. So, in some ways you can understand the Sudanese viewpoint. Anyway, 3 cheers for Tony's, Bill's and Monica's foreign policy initiatives! Mine's a Havana.

I'll have to see locally (Turkey, Syria, Jordan) what avenues there are to reach Kenya. Possibly Saudi Arabia, Yemen and by boat to Djibouti, fly over the area, on verra.

I'm sending this email from Steven's phone socket. This might be the last time my Psion works for a while. Hopefully not, but Internet cafes are also possible, so not all is lost. Hang loose for now and please write!

A bientot mes amis,


PS. Went mountain biking today (VTT en francais). Somebody suggested I ride a pushbike around the world. No way! Up hill is plain hard work and down hill nothing but dangerous!

Top of Page Unless otherwise credited, All Words, Images and Videos are Copyright Chris Bright and 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer