Posts Tagged Travel

Alexis

michael_warren_alexis_pazoumian

My name is Alexis and I’m a photographer.

So my story with this turtle, I was at my best friend’s home in La Marsa, Tunisia. It’s a coastal town in northern Tunisia near the capital Tunis. We decided to visit the Souk, which is a large, well-known market in Tunis.

We were walking trough the vender stalls and went by a cage with some forty turtles piled on top of each other. I felt sorry for this one turtle and was so sad to see her there that I bought her- it was three, four Euros at the time, nothing.

For that week it was just funny to have her in his apartment but I decided I wanted to keep her. My friend was returning with me to France and he really wanted us to leave her in Tunisia, because he said it was forbidden to bring turtles into the country. I didn’t believe it was forbidden and even if it was I didn’t think the fines would be a lot so I decided to bring her back. I couldn’t abandon her over there.

On the day we left Tunisia I hid her in my camera bag and she went through the scanners. Even I saw her on the screen but at the exact same time my bag was going through the x-ray machine an alarm rang and the security officers became distracted and started shouting at everyone. The alarm was triggered because of a piece of luggage right before me, some guy had hidden a knife in his bag.The distracted officers never saw the turtle on the scanner.

So okay, but after getting through security my friend tells me again that the turtle on the plane, it’s very dangerous. And on the internet we read the fine can be forty thousand Euros if I get caught. So I’m like, oh shit but it’s too late, I can’t leave the turtle in the Tunisia airport. We boarded the plane with the turtle still in my bag. When we arrive in France I’m very afraid to smuggle in the turtle and ask my friend to take all the bags. I just wanted to go through immigration myself but I still didn’t know what I was has going to do with my turtle. I was really nervous about getting caught so just before I reached the control area I dropped the turtle into my trunks, looked down an told her be careful. But when I arrived at immigration, the stations were empty- there was nobody! I passed through and just started running with the turtle still in my pants. When I was about hundred 100 meters from the station the turtle was still in my trunks and I slowed to a walk. I looked back I see officers returning to theirs stations and they were talking to all the people that came from Tunisia.

My friend got out of the airport an hour later. The customs officers had searched him and all the luggage. I was very lucky.

And now, this turtle, her name is Spinoza, is alive and well and four years old.



Brian and Shirley

My name’s Brian, and this is my wife, Shirley.

There’s something about it. I dunno, we surround ourselves with all the goods and trappings of life, and when you power your life down to living out of those little boxes on the side of the motor bike, and each other, that’s what life’s all about. You really find out about yourself and how you can cope.

I’ve been a motorcyclist all my life. I love that experience where all in one day, you can go from the hills in Peru, feeling the bite-ness in the air where its zero degrees at five kilometers high, and then you come down beautiful twisty roads to the Pacific Ocean, and it’s 30-plus degrees celsius.

And it’s great to be able to share that with your partner. Shirley does an amazing job sitting on the back of the bike, day in day out.

I’m Brian’s wife. I have no desire to ride myself, but, I’m a pillion in a million. Sat on the back of that motorcycle for 60-plus thousand kilometers on this trip. The motorcycle is our home, our transport, it carries our worldly possessions, and it carries trinkets from home, things that are important to us. We’re like little turtles.

Some days can be tough and hard whether it’s raining and cold…or dry and hot! People always say, “Oh, when it’s hot, that must be really good on the bike.” I heard someone use this analogy – “Stand in your bathroom, get your hair dryer out, turn it on your face and leave it there for about three hours. See how you like riding in the heat.”

But the motorcycle is a conduit to making really good friends. There’s a camaraderie about motorcycling, and there’s a fascination with the public that they like to know what we’re doing. When you ride into a gas station, people come up to you: “Oh, nice bike. Where have you been? Where are you going? Where have you come from? Oh, you’re Australian.” You don’t find that when you fuel up a car.

And that just develops a bond. It’s a bond that no one cares how old we are, what we’ve done in the past, what we’re gonna do in the future. It’s just the bond of travel and the bond of exploring new things.

The bike just breaks down all the barriers.

Tidbit:
In 2011, after retiring from 36 years with the Victorian police, serving in the drug and homicide squads, Brian and Shirley packed up this bike and embarked on an 18 month journey. Starting in Santiago Chile, the southern most point in South America, they traveled to Deadhorse Alaska, the northernmost point in North America accessible by road. From there they continued to Europe and South Africa before making it back home to Australia. There’s more of their story here: http://www.aussiesoverland.com.au