After I graduated and saved my first money, I felt a kind of a magnetic field. Pulling me to new countries. When I met Klaas-Jan, a friend of a friend and also a biker, we both knew this picture of a beautiful Asian girl on a motorcycle. We wanted to see that by ourselves. This picture was the start of everything. Getting all the info we could get, we talked to some people who made this trip also by motorcycle. At this time Irak took Kuwait and it seemed too dangerous for us to take the overland route from The Netherlands to Turkey, Iran, India and Asia to Australia. A traveller must be flexible, so we decided to go from The Netherlands to Africa's Algeria, Central Africa and then to take a boat from Kenya to India. Later, in Kenya, we split up because I liked Africa very much and wanted to see the South of it.
We both bought for this trip an Yamaha XT 500 off-road motorcycle. So we could exchange spare parts. And because of the simplicity of this bike. But the most important reason was that a XT 500 is the mother of all off-road bikes made for mass production. With it's very own special character. Two wishes came out at the same time: to owe a XT 500 and travelling!
The bike never abused my confidence in it. It was a '80 model. I had to overhaul the bike completely. An opportunity to get familiar with it. I left with synthetic oil in the bike. It had until Tanzania an oil consumption of approx. 1 litre oil on every 4000 km. Not bad, keeping the bad roads and high temperatures in mind. In Tanzania I had to change to a local brand. And after that time I had to poor every 500 km's 1 litre in it. But it lasted until home with this high thirst (25.000 km's). Maybe I do have to change the rings now ... .
The price of one litre of petrol varied between US$ 0,08 in Nigeria (same as one bottle of coke) to US$ 1,80 in Zaïre on the black market. Since everybody bought all the petrol, locally available, I could only buy it there from the local man with some jerry-cans! And to bargain with these people is quite exhausting, sometimes you'll take the loss.