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25 août 2006 5 25 /08 /août /2006 05:23

 


Des rencontres que l'on fait parfois. Environs 15 cm pour ce scorpion.

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8 août 2006 2 08 /08 /août /2006 03:41
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7 août 2006 1 07 /08 /août /2006 12:31
Biking duo find Malaysia a nice surprise

By CHRISTINA LOW
Photos by CHRISTINA LOW and courtesy of CHRISTOPHE BILLEQUE 

Boukari (left) and Billeque outside The Star’s branch office in Brickfields.
IT has been a year since Sandra Boukari and Christophe Billeque left France on their cycling trip around the world and the duo’s journey has so far taken them to 14 countries. 

“We started cycling on July 29 last year, so Saturday marked exactly a year that we’ve been cycling. Malaysia is our 14th stop,” said the 30-year-old Boukari, who is a teacher in contemporary arts. 

The two rode into Kuala Lumpur last Friday from Sekinchan in Selangor. 

With a map in hand, the duo managed to find The Star’s branch office in Brickfields by foot as they had left their bicycles in a hotel.  

They said everyone they met had urged them to share their story, thus their visit to this newspaper’s office. 

“In Terengganu, we pitched our tents in an oil palm estate and every day the estate workers would come and wish us well. 

“They didn’t come and stare at us or place chairs around our tents like when we were in India,” giggled Boukari. 

Since they left France, the Internet has been the duo’s primary communication tool with their families back home.  

“Making calls via cell phones is too expensive,” said Billeque. 

The pair are also lucky because their families sometimes travelled to the countries where they were cycling to just to meet them 

”My family came to Thailand and Turkey while Sandra’s was in Iran,” added Billeque.  

The other countries they had travelled to included Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. 

The trip is not as easy as one would imagine as they have to face the occasional harsh weather conditions and are always weighed down by their bags, Billeque’s bag weighs up to 70 kg while Boukari’s is about 50kg. 

Curious onlookers gathered around their tents while they were in India.
”We pack everything from cooking utensils, clothes to suit the weather, a laptop, a camera, wheels for the bicycle, tents and food,” said Boukari. 

“There’s also 3kg of French books in one of the bags,” said Billeque, adding that the books were their only form of entertainment as they often stayed in their tents in every country they visited. 

Of all the 14 countries they had been to, Boukari felt that they had the toughest time in Pakistan and Iran. 

“We spent a month in Pakistan and we had police escorts for safety reasons. They followed us when we rode our bikes and even when we stopped to eat,” said Boukari. 

“We sometimes heard gunshots at night,” added Billeque. 

Boukari said that despite the strict security imposed on them, their experience in Pakistan made each day they were there special. 

“But I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to get to know the people. Even waving seemed wrong,” she said. 

Boukari also recalled arriving in Turkey during winter and having to ride their bikes in the snow. 

”I cried everyday there because it was so cold. We had to build our tents in the snow,” she recalled with a shudder. 

Billeque said there were days during that Turkey winter when the temperature dropped to below 30°C. 

They usually prefer staying in their tents as most places either do not have a hotel or is too expensive for them.  

They have not tallied the amount of money they have spent on their journey so far.  

“We both spend around 15 Euros a day,” said Boukari. 

The couple have travelled more than 8,700km now and hope to travel for another four years before returning to France. 

At present, they write on their travels for a fortnightly Turkish magazine.  

After Malaysia, the duo will be moving on to Singapore, Indonesia, China, Japan, the United States, South America and Africa.  

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6 août 2006 7 06 /08 /août /2006 13:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 août 2006 6 05 /08 /août /2006 10:18

 

 

 

 

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1 août 2006 2 01 /08 /août /2006 04:54

 

 

 

 

 

 

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29 juillet 2006 6 29 /07 /juillet /2006 14:58

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29 juillet 2006 6 29 /07 /juillet /2006 14:28

A quelques kilomètres de la capitale de Malaisie, Kuala Lumpur, nous demandons à poser la tente dans un jardin privé. Le père de famille nous ouvre les bras chaleureusement : « Inch Allah, vous êtes les bienvenus dans ma maison ! ». Voila… déjà les premières paroles de tout musulman qui vous accueille chez lui. A partir du moment où vous posez un pied chez eux, la tradition veut que vous vous laissiez servir dignement ! Ces gens vous offre tout et leur hospitalité n’a de pareille mesure. Mais le paroxysme de l’hospitalité s’est démontré hier soir : un jeune homme a refusé que nous dormions dans la tente. Sans même nous connaître, il nous a laissé les clés de sa maison alors qu’il n’y passerait pas la nuit. Il nous a juste demander de poser les clés dans la boite aux lettre le lendemain matin, avant notre départ. Vous laisseriez, vous, les clés de votre habitation à un étranger que vous ne connaissez que depuis 2 minutes ?

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25 juillet 2006 2 25 /07 /juillet /2006 06:57

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20 juillet 2006 4 20 /07 /juillet /2006 12:12
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