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ABOUT THIS BLOG

In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

Visited countries

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MONTHLY ARCHIVES

THE ROUTE

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  • Leaving Mumbai, due south

    Posted on September 25th, 2010 Nicolas No comments

    The container available for pickup.

    The container available for pickup.


    It is now time for me to leave Mumbai. After another week of work to be able to pick up my car at the port, I was finally able to do so at the last minute on Friday. Another thousand dollars is gone, but if this is the price of freedom, it’s worth it. Details for people interested in shipping their vehicle at the end of this port.
    Following Ganesh.

    Following Ganesh.

    We went out a bunch with Vikas last week and had good time in the city. The Ganesh festival I mentioned in my previous entry reached its apogee on the 22, and we were out to see that.
    I had good time here, and I can’t thank Vikas enough for letting me stay at his place. It would have been very difficult to stay in a YMCA for three weeks…
    Vikas from the New York Times shooting pictures at night.

    Vikas from the New York Times shooting pictures at night.


    I was thinking about leaving on Saturday, but the work I had to do on the truck took longer than expected. The connectors from the battery I bought were different from the one I used previously, so I had to adapt that, and the draining bolt from the oil pan was not usable anymore, forcing me with the help from locals to take the pan out and fix it.
    Vikas picture, poverty in India.

    Vikas picture, poverty in India.


    But now I am ready to go, and will leave Sunday morning. Groceries are in the fridge, and nothing can stop me. The only annoying thing is my Indian visa will allow me only one month in the country, which will force me to put some miles behind. Coming next is Goa. Back on the road!

    Information for travelers:
    Trying to clear yourself your vehicle in India seems virtually impossible. Some people succeed but it can take you a long time if you are not familiar with the process. As in Iran, I would advise to use an agent. I had a good experience with Aubrey D’Souza (Contact info at the end of this post). In general, I would recommend to not send a vehicle from or to India. It is very expensive, and the service was poor). But as we know, there was no other choice in my case. Total costs of the shipping including Iran spending amounts to around $1,500.

    J P INTERNATIONAL
    VAJU KOTAK MARG,
    NEXT TO DEVEN MOTORS,
    BALLARD ESTATE, MUMBAI 400 001.
    TEL: 022 66333261/66333263
    MOBILE: 9821240603
    E-MAIL: jpintl [AT] rediffmail.com

  • Arabian Sea’s troubled port delays expedition.

    Posted on September 19th, 2010 Nicolas No comments
    Annual festival honouring Ganesh in Mumbai.

    Annual festival honouring Ganesh in Mumbai.

    This week update will be a short one, due to the lack of news to report. I have been waiting for the vessel transporting my truck to arrive in Mumbai’s neighboring port of Nhava Sheva. Unfortunately, the large Indian port went through a series of accidents delaying significantly the incoming traffic.

    An accident at the harbor's entrance created a huge backlog. Have I arrived few weeks earlier, it could have been my boat. - Photo Danish Siddiqui via Maritime Bulletin.

    An accident at the harbor's entrance created a huge backlog. Have I arrived few weeks earlier, it could have been my boat. - Photo Danish Siddiqui via Maritime Bulletin.

    A month ago, two container ships collided just outside the port, and one of the vessels dumped a large number of containers in the shallow waters, creating an obstacle for other carriers.
    They had to clean up the mess, but another unlucky event – or should we begin to suspect some unprofessionalism – increased the backlog of boats waiting for their turn to enter the harbor. While unloading a vessel, a crane operator dumped a container on the ship’s top and ruptured its fuel oil tank. The boat was then stranded for more than a week, making impossible the unloading of my truck.

    The imposing gothic Victoria train station.

    The imposing gothic Victoria train station.

    Eventually, at the end of this week, the Express Annapurna carrying my container was authorized into the port. Unloading should have take place this weekend, and at the beginning of next week, I hope to be driving my truck.
    Traveling the world really makes you appreciate the level of organization we reached in Europe or the United States. In the places I traveled in recent months, you don’t get much answers or information when you try to get things done. It has little importance for me as a traveler, but if you add the lack of information to the sickening amount of paperwork and corruption, you can’t help but think that it will take decades for countries to be able to challenge the western world. Even if these countries feature cheaper price for the inefficient service they deliver.

    The prince of Wales Museum. The miniature painting gallery is worth a visit.

    The prince of Wales Museum. The miniature painting gallery is worth a visit.

    Anyhow, little by little I will keep moving east, and every mile will bring me closer to New York City.
    In the meantime, when I am not trying to get some papers from tumbling office buildings in downtown Mumbai, I visit museums, or work on my upcoming route through south-east Asia. You can find a draft of it here.

    The Taj Mahal hotel.

    The Taj Mahal hotel.

    Every day, I also go for a two hours walk in diverse parts of the city. It is the festival period in India, and one of the most widespread celebrations is Ganesha Chaturthi. Ganesha, the elephant-head famous god is worshipped as the Remover of Obstacles. Idols representing him are transported and immersed in the sea all over Mumbai. The population density, noise and crazed vehicle traffic doesn’t make it very enjoyable, but it is interesting to explore one of the most populous city in the world.

    Gandhi statue in a city park.

    Gandhi statue in a city park.

    There is an estimated 14 million peoples living here, far above New York City’s 8 millions inhabitants. No wonder why I get lost each time I go out. The city population density is exploding and features widespread poverty and unemployment as well as poor hygiene standards. I am looking forward to be out on southern India’s roads where there will be more space to breath.
    Upcoming posts should be more entertaining as we should be on the move, so stay tuned!

    Architecture detail.

    Architecture detail.