So with the decision made that we needed to come home that just left the logistics of doing it. Unfortunately for the motorcycle adventurer this is a lot easier said than done. We were very fortunate to be in Kathmandu where there are good transport links and plenty of cargo agents. We had already been in contact with Suraj at Eagle Exports and thankfully he could arrange transport for the bikes to London instead of Bangkok. Due to the Carnet documentation we could not leave the country before the bikes were sorted out. On a personal level we wanted to make sure the bikes were well looked after since they had looked after us for 5 months. I was just glad that we were not in this position in India.
Another tense couple of days were spent waiting for the insurance company to confirm if they would make or cover the arrangements to get the bikes back since we could not leave before then. Invariably they eventually came back to say it was up to us to organise ourselves. Without wishing to delay things further we went ahead and booked the bikes onto airfreight and organised for us to fly the next day. Suraj did a great job organising all the right people to be in the right place at the right time and have it all done in 24 hours.
The air cargo depot was a hive of noise and activity when we arrived. People were loading all sorts of oddly shaped packages into various bays. We grabbed the bay at the end and the carpenter arrived to start setting up the crates. Luggage removed the bikes were wheeled onto the base of the crate. I removed the front brake calipers and then 6 or 7 guys appeared from nowhere to lift the front while I removed the front wheel. The bike was then set down on the forks and a special clamp built around the front axle. With all the chaos happening around us I was glad to have an agent working for us that knew what to do. With the bikes placed in their coffins we were left with nothing to do but return to the hotel for our final wait.
Our flight for the morning was cancelled. We were due to leave early and catch a connection in Delhi but the airline had attached a note to the booking that basically we didn’t have enough time to make the connection. Luckily the insurance company had picked up on this and changed things for us, otherwise we’d have been in Delhi airport for a lovely 24 hour connection. Nice.
So we climbed into a taxi with hand luggage only and headed through the Kathmandu traffic for the last time. Silence fell on the car as our driver battled his way through a billion small bikes and cars in his trusty Suzuki Maurti. We’d become used to this place and the everyday traffic mayhem. Somehow we could both sense that the great adventure was coming to an end and we watched our surroundings intently as we saw it with fresh eyes. We passed through confused security into the airport since we had no tickets or big luggage. After a problem with carrying the pac-safe on as hand luggage we had to check in one bag with it plus some clothes. Even more surprisingly it arrived at our destination too.
We flew via Doha in Qatar. We saw oil rigs working offshore with their gas flares glowing in the dark. The airport seemed sprawling and ultra modern, with more than enough electric to light the place up despite seeming to have hardly any passengers. The runways seemed to have more tarmac than the whole of Nepal. The contrast of ultra modern buildings in the inhospitable desert was like Las Vegas only with oil supplying the money instead of gambling. We stood dazed in the duty free shop, having not seen anything so modern and shiny for months. Strangely neither of us missed it and it seemed somewhat emptier and less interesting than it did when we left home (although we always hated shopping anyway).
So that was it, the adventure was over (for now). It took less than 24 hours of flights and connections to undo what had taken 4 and a bit months to cover 10,000 miles. Needless to say the journey was less eventful…