Monday, May 28, 2007

Vladivostok 28 May 2007

The Red Rodent is at present in the car park of the Vladivostok Hotel, and
at 6.00am tomorrow the adventure begins.

We arrived in Vladivostok late on Friday afternoon in torrential rain,
after two nights in Seoul enroute. We immediately made contact with our
shipping agent and were told that nothing was going to happen over the
weekend. He did meet with us on Saturday morning and a few papers were
signed and copies made of passports etc. The shipping agent agreed as a
'one off' to do our clearances for us and now, after observing the whole
procedure, we are eternally grateful that they decided to help us in this

We resigned ourselves to the wait, and spent the weekend sight seeing
around Vladivostok, which is on a peninsular with many very pretty
waterfront areas. Lang managed to find the enevitable flea market.
Yesterday was sunny and there was a real festive air with all the locals
out in force on their day off. Lang enjoys ogling the very attractive
Russian ladies all in the very latest fashions.

Today at 9.00am on the dot we were back at the shipping agent's office.
With more forms to sign, then traipsing after Alexander through insurance,
customs, banks etc we filled in a few more hours. While we were in line at the
customs the window was slammed closed at 3.45 and opened again at 4.15 - I
guess it was afternoon tea time. More windows, more payments and more
waiting but at 6.30, while patiently waiting at the port, we were rewarded by the sight of Alexander driving the Red Rodent towards us.

A few things have disappeared and a few small things are broken but
essentially the car is all in one piece.

We have spoken to all sorts of people trying to get some idea of the
condition of the road from here to Ulaan Ude, and have very differing
reports. It seems NOBODY has travelled west to east and all those traveling towards Moscow have of course disappeared. We are going to try to put in some really long hours and make it
through to Irkutsk (4022kms)in five days.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Brisbane 8 May 2007

After chasing the ship 1,000km from Brisbane to Sydney and getting on at the last moment, the Bambino set off on its adventure aboard the "TAKOE". As a roll-on roll-off vessel it enabled us to not only transport the car at around half the price of putting it in a container but allows a quick departure on arrival with no unpacking.

We anticipated starting our adventure from Vladivostok about 10 May but unfortunately the feeder ship from Yokohama to Vladivostok was so full they could not find room for even a Bambino. After languishing on the dock in Japan for a couple of extra weeks it is now arriving in Russia on 25 May.

Lang and I fly out of Brisbane via Seoul on 21 May and with luck will be on the road a few days later. Previous experience with Russian Customs makes us hopeful there will be little delay getting out of the dock gate in Vladivostok.

We will then have about a month to cover 12,000km to meet the rest of the Bambino fleet in Kiel, Northern Germany, for the big convoy across Europe to the FIAT 500 50th birthday party in Garlenda, Italy.