1. Some of you may be wondering why Sunny and I frequently appeared in our blogs near a bottle of beer or holding a glass of beer. Wouldn't it be dangerous mixing beer and driving? Thought I should explain this so that you do not go away thinking that we are alcoholics or that we are frequently engaging in drink driving.
2. The pictures do not tell a lie. We did have our beer each day at the end of our hard day drive. It is now part of our routine, to have a beer immediately after we check into a hotel before we wash up and go out for dinner.
3. We would normally wake up between 6-7 am each day, log on the computers to clear some emails and try to finish the blogs we started while we take turn to use the toilet, have breakfast at about 8 and start the day's programme at about 9. On day we are driving, we would finish packing our bags after breakfast and then set off at about 9.
4. As Sunny is the "bank" of the partnership, he would do the checking out of the hotel while I get the car ready for the trip - putting in the GPS, iPod, and dusting and vacuuming the interior of the car. When that's done, we would put our bags in, set the GPS to the next location and we are all set to go.
5. Over the days, we have developed an SOP to manage our bags, adopting practices like backpackers. We will have the usual no of bags when we check into a hotel each day. For me, I have 2 bags - the computer bag (with my lap top, charges, cables, documents etc) and a small backpack (with my day's change, toiletries, daily medication, slippers, and odds and ends). Used clothings are also packed into the bag so that they could be washed at the end of the day when I carry the backpack up to the hotel room. The car is like the mobile home, and from time to time, I picked up things or swapped things from the "house".
6. So far, for whatever reason, I would normally take the first shift, driving up to around lunch time and then have Sunny taking over. Must admit that its tough on Sunny, as it is not easy to stay awake after lunch. Other than sour plum, we have the Axe Oil (coincidentally, we are both addict of this oil) to help keep us awake.
7. For Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, both of us have to stay awake and alert as we drive. The co-driver has to advise the driver if it is possible to overtake, as the Pajero is a right hand drive car, in a keep right traffic.
8. If we have not already located possible hotels to check, the co-driver will check the GPS for possible hotels and have them checked against the list in Lonely Planet, as we get nearer the destination. We would normally shortlist 2-3 hotels to check. We would normally go for mid-range hotel and it must be clean, has internet (preferably free), and located in good location with amenities near it.
9. When we arrive at the destination, we will check the hotels. If the first one is good and meet our requirements, we would often just settle for it. If not, we go on to check the next one. When the hotel is decided, Sunny would check in while I pack things up at the car end- GPS and iPod to be kept, car locked with steering wheel lock. Individually, we ensure that we have the day's change in the backpack and off with our computer bag and backpack to our twin-sharing room. After we have settled in, we will be off to have our usual beer. By then, we would be thirsty like hell. There is nothing better than a cold beer.
10. When we get back to our room, we would typically log into our computers to see that the wifi is working and check for mails and news etc, while the other party washes up and washes the clothes and have them hung up for drying. Dinner is normally 7 to 7.30.
11. After dinner, we may go for a massage depending on how badly we need one and very often our back and muscles do call for one. After that, it is more work on the computers before we fall asleep 11-12. There were times when wifi was bad and there was no cable. We were not sure whether we should be sad or happy.