After a looonnggg 30 hours journey with two transits from BsAs – Atlanta – New York, I finally reached Heathrow International Airport, London at 6.45am. I was sooo tired and sleepy due to the lack of sleep, but am happy to reunite with my ex student Eleanor, after 22 years. She had not changed one bit. She fetched me at the airport and we drove to Terminal 3 to fetch my darling son, Emiershah. It had been 6 months that I didn’t see him, the longest ever, so I was into tears. I was a bit sad because my eldest son couldn’t meet me in London due to job commitment.
We went back to Eleanor’s house at Rickmansworth and after resting a while, I started to wonder why I didn’t get any message from my agent in BsAs regarding my bike. GD had been flown into London earlier than me, so by right it should already have reached Ldn by now. After a series of nightmare calls here and there to locate GD’s whereabout, but failing to locate the bike, I decided to ask a lady biker friend, Lillian Hobbs, for help. Having air freighted her bike many times during her previous rides, she knew how and where to locate GD. We finally get the info that the bike was now at a British Airways Cargo warehouse. Lillian advised me to go straight to the British Airways Cargo Center to talk to the personnel after I told her of my frustration to get any info regarding bike clearance procedure from UK Customs staff as they passed my call from one person to another, but I ended up getting nothing. Eleanor drove me to British Airways Cargo Center and I was very lucky to get efficient and kind help from Mr Frankie and Mr Bryan. They went out of their way to help me. Within a couple of hours, GD was cleared and I hit the UK road in the cold winter night. I was very tired by then because I hadn’t slept for 60 hours!!!
The next few days were spent on doing major service on GD, as by now it had already completed half of my total journey. My new set of tires which were sent by Hong Leong Yamaha Motor had also arrived. Thanks HLYM for the help and support, and thanks too to Eleanor for helping to drive me here and there to settle my matters. It would have been difficult for me if she’d not been around.
I had a remarkable 3 weeks in UK filled with lots of activities. First was the Ace Cafe Adventure Day event. I met sooo many people there including two muslimah lady biker (Noorah and Jan), and some from the Women International Motorcycle Association (Sheonagh, Pat, Janet and Barbara).
I also met my idol lady advrider at the event, Tiffany Coates. This amazing woman had been zig zagging the world on her trusted GS for years. We had been on FB for quite a while and she had been giving me lots of tips and advice. It was so nice to finally meet her in person, and an honour when she invited me to go to her place at Lands End, the most western point of the UK about 500kms from London, which I accepted.
In Lands End, Tiff brought me to the most western point of the UK. The view was soooo beautiful but it was a very windy day. We spent some time admiring the beautiful panoramic view and later, we rode to her parents’ house about 50kms away. I met Charlie & Margaret who lived in Malaysia between 1969 – 1972. It was so nice when they recalled those days when they’re in Msia and asked me if this or that still exists.
Back to London, I was invited to give a talk to the Perwakilan Ladies of the Msian High Commission at the Ambassador’s residence. I was given a very warm welcome by H.E. Dato Ahmad Rasidi and his wife, Datin Rosilawati, together with approximately 50 other Msian students who came from as far as Brighton. Some of my followers who came from Windsor were there to meet me too. Not just that, Asa Okhvist, the secretary of WIMA WORLD, and representatives from Msian TV3 and RTM, sis Haliza and sis Zaharah Othman were there to interview me too.
During my last days in Ldn I stayed with sis Zaharah, who took me for some sightseeing. We visited Portobello Market, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Trafalgar Square. She also filmed me riding around the city. Jan and Noorah accompanied us too. Thank you very much everyone for the nice hospitality.
The day came and I finally said goodbye to Ldn. Noorah came to meet me. She accompanied me for few kms, then I rode to Brighton via M23, approx 108km away, to meet another lady rider friend, Sue Barnes. UK road was fantastic but I had to be careful not to ride on the wrong side of the road. It had been 6 months that I’m riding on the right, so I was very awkward. LOL!!! It was a very windy day due to the storm which hit southern UK since the past few days. Sue waited for me at a rest area before Brighton and took me back to her house. She had advised me to take the ferry from Newhaven (near her place) to cross into France as it’s much easier compared to taking the ferry from Dover. I spent 2 nights at Sue’s place and she took me sightseeing near Brighton Pier. Sue also helped me to purchase my ferry ticket (GBP48), and advised me on the must have and riding rules in France which I’m not aware of, such as reflective stickers on helmet, wearing yellow + reflective vest, 2 breathalizers and a spare bulb. Failure to have all these can result in one getting a ticket if being stopped by the police. I didn’t have all that (except the spare bulb), and I was very thankful to Sue for giving hers to me.