How Baktrax Travel Came into Being and Evolved: The Middle Years – Part 2

From around 1990 I continued long hours and big wages delivering air freight around Armadale, Malvern, Prahran, Windsor and East Malvern doing around 120 deliveries or pick ups daily. This meant running for almost 12 hours a day followed by a five K run around the lake or Tan after that. Friday night was a restaurant with three courses and bottle of red with a friend and saturdays continued unabated trying to perfect the punt as I gave away going to the football and trots as life was too busy to fit it all in and the races were always my fav. Sitting on the Flemington hill with the binoculars was fantastic in the days before mass gambling destroyed all of this. My two well travelled friends continued the stories on a regular basis as I slowly became besotted with the travel idea. Again, fate works in funny ways. I loved my job and customers but gradually the nepitism and cronyism wore me down. Had I have known how evil those two words are  and had the fight in me then that I have today in regardes to fairness and justice I would have attacked Boobis with all the ferocity i ever had.  As Carlos once said after a number of retrenchments was followed by Boobis’ familly moving in to the same chairs “this is a family buisness”. This was after I noticed the family resemblance to his sister who was already working there. This same girl who once asked me after i showed her photo’s i took in Africa of lions eating a baby elephant, “that’s cruel, Why don’t THEY feed them”? Sadly I had never heard of Cronyism or Nepitism until I saw a show on the Sukharto familly in Indonesia. It was exactly the same thing albeit on a lesser lever it was no less wrong Yes it was time to move on again because of this totally immoral if not criminal favouritism in the work place. His family and friends got all the well paid and easy runs while the rest of us slaved away in comparison. But as I said it was to turn out for the best. Kharma did win out. As he continued to make me work longer and harder his cohorts would be sipping coffeee for much of the day. I was planning to return to Africa again but as he wore me down I decided to save hard for another year and then take off for two years as a back packer at 41. So i worked hard, invested well and was set up for life with furniture, van, and as it turned out a great share portfolio.

December 1994 I give notice. Many couldn’t believe I could walk away from all this money. Wayne of cronyism benefit said” You’ll be back in a week begging to come back” .  His mentality on most things always staggered me. I even made sure I left on bad terms so I wouldn’t be tempted to return after two years travel. So with Van on blocks and all belongings in storage it was time to go. Friend Graeme had just taken a job teaching in Thailand so originally with only Europe in mind I decided to do something really adventurous and visit him in Thailand. Like all untravelled people I knew nothing of the world let alone S.E. Asia. I couldn’t have shown you where any of the countries were on a map. I now knew some African countries  but elsewhere I was inept to say the least. I decided to fly into K.l. and because I was aprehensive about travelling in Asia on my own I booked two organised tours. One in Borneo and another from Bangkok to the just opening Laos and Vietnam. Both with one of the biggest travel operators in the world. So mid January 1995 I said goodbye to some, as it turned out, fair weather friends and said see ya in two years as i got on a bus to Adelaide on the way to fly from darwin to K.L. After Adelaide i went to one of the three places to this day that i never wat to go to let alone live in ever again. For two days Cooper Pedy is a fascinating place to visit. BUT why would you want to stay any longer?  Then it was onto Alice which i recall as OK.  Then to Darwin for a last punt.  Darwin is also a place I can live without even though I have been to a few times since from Bangkok and do enjoy for a week or so but never much longer. After asia it has  amazingsupermarkets with red wine among other homesick goodies and Darwin has TAB’s also. So nwhile i would never live there it is fine from time to time. I then flew out of Darwin in early Feb 95 for K.L. not scared as such but very apprehensive to how i would survive in Asia and a muslim country first up also. So let me say here and now very clearly and loudly. “THERE IS NO BETTER COUNTRY ON THE PLANET THAN MALAYSIA. Best food just to begin with and the most moderate and friendly people on earth. In the more than fifty visits since i have never felt unsafe once. but I guess this can be said for all countries in the region.  I arrived knowing not a thing of travel as a backpacker so I first stayed in a YHA in central K.l. couldn’t believe some of the things i saw. Crazy pink mini bus’s driving like mad men on packed roads. bangkok and saigon were still ahead so K.L. traffic was full on after Melbourne. Then there was fish head curry with the eyes looking at you. While i have since tried much on the menu I have still not tried this one today. Like grilled cows innards in Thailand or B.B.Q. barker in China, not for me thanks. But it was all new and fascinating and not to this day have i ever regretted one minute of travelling. First stop after K.l. was the Cameron Highlands and the town of Tanah Rata where i was to spend a number of months in over the next 19 years.  Next up was Penang which today is still my number one favourite place in all the world. Not sure i ever want to live there but no place still excites after dozens of visits than Georgetown. It really does have an atmosphere unlike anywhere else I have been. Just think Indian food and enjoy it for a short time. There are now many places in Asia that i adore but my first vote goes to Georgetown and probably always will. A beer on the table outside 75 travellers lodge at 5.00 before dinner is one of my great joys before an Indian restaurant completes the day.

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