Trabant Trek - Crossing the World in a Plastic Car
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Cambodia is a long way from Germany - thousands of miles, as it turns out. And in between are some of the world’s highest mountains, most inhospitable deserts and least welcoming countries. Trying to make the journey overland was always going to be difficult. But one group of twenty-somethings, bored with the predictable wanderings of the backpacker generation, thought they’d spice things up a little. They would go by car. The worst car in the world. The infamous Soviet-era Trabant. This would be no whimsical meander across the globe, but a mission with a cause—to raise money for the Cambodian children they had met on previous visits to the country. From their base in Central Europe, east through Turkey and the gateway to Asia, then into the Caucasus, the five men and three women ferried across the Caspian Sea and into the forgotten world of Central Asia, the police state of Turkmenistan, the beautiful Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan, the stunning mountain passes of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and the endless flat of the Kazakh steppe. They took on Russia’s freezing Siberian winter and Mongolia’s icy plains, crossed booming China before hitting the sun-speckled hills of Laos and the jungles of Cambodia. This book, based on the explosive blog from award-winning travel writer and journalist Dan Murdoch, tells the inside story of the Trabant Trek, and how a group of near strangers coped with the challenge of their lives. Ten percent of the royalties will be donated to the Trabant Trek charities.
again, I would get CB radios installed in all the cars. In Fez, the backs of both the passenger’s and driver’s seats were broken, so they constantly fell backwards. We could stuff bags and blankets behind the driver’s seat to keep it upright, but the passenger seat was more difficult. Eventually I just tore off the back of it. This only left the seat of the chair, but the passenger was now able to sit in the rear of the car and use the remains of the seat in front as a footrest. This was a
Melody said, to no one in particular, by way of a welcome. Tony gave me a hug, asking “What’s up, Danno?” which was a relief as he had every right to thump me for leaving him passport-less in Cambodia five years before. Also at the house was our Hungarian trekker, Zsofi Somlai. Pretty, well-kept and brunette, she’d spent a year in the States so spoke faultless American. At 21, she was the youngest of the group, and had never travelled for more than a few weeks before, but you wouldn’t have
Chinese. Dante in the Siberian forest Fez, too, felt different. Maybe it was a month away from the wheel, more likely it was the running repairs he had received over the Pamirs. The exhaust pipe, which had become detached in Tajikistan, was now welded firmly to the underside of the car, making the whole cabin rattle. The noise, combined with the unique seating arrangement in Fez, limited conversation between driver and passenger. And I’m not sure exactly what the welder did, but
Asian, but Asya was thoroughly European, a buxom blonde. Kataya’s grandparents properly took us in, giving Zsofi some much needed pampering and a whole load of clothes, and Carlos a very fetching stripy sweater. The next day, random strangers from the housing estate worked on the cars and a wonderful family nearby fed Carlos and me a huge lunch and dinner with lashings of vodka and gave me a scarf. It was hard to refuse an invitation to Kataya’s friend’s 21st birthday party, and despite
bathed in sunshine. We cast our collective minds back to the last time we’d seen such simple glory. Tajikistan? Mountains. Turkmenistan? Desert. We placed it in Azerbaijan, the long drive to Baku, 25 August, nearly four months ago. I greedily absorbed the view, and tried to snatch a look at what the farmers were wearing as they flew past my little screen. Is it sandal weather? Shorts? Kunming means the City of Eternal Spring, and we stepped off the train into a beautiful spring day.