All 30 entries tagged Travel

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May 08, 2007

Another month, where have i been?

Well, no where “new” but here is where i have been already, doesn’t look much does it? 42 countries apparently and long way to go until I reach the magic 100.



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April 01, 2007

Time travel?

Time goes fast, never slows down especially when you think it will… Its been an age since i last attempted to update the kramblog, in mid January in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott.

I was planning to put down a few thoughts / observations about my current trip to India for the Sixth Commonwealth-India Small Business Competitiveness Development Programme for SMEs. My intrepid leader kindly suggested that I should go on his behalf. And I have learnt so much during the last week, hopefully sowed the seeds for future continued work the CCM project and made new friends from all over the commonwealth. So thanks for the opportunity JB.

That reminds me, the last week has been an continued round of “vote of thanks”, praises, thank yous, welcomes, goodbyes, thanks so much of the opportunities, extended gratitudes, appreciations… Speech after speech including Dr Kram doing impromptu TV interviews and addresses in front of 200+ people including a sea of “hungry” Indian press reporters. Whenever we thought that the speeches were done for the day, a new whole series of 24 started up again. Having said that, we were so well treated by our hosts, like true kings.

There is so much to cover over the last week during the Commonwealth-India Small Business Competitiveness Development Programme and I am ready rambling on. From the commonwealth secretariat website:

Theme: SMEs – An engine for Poverty Alleviation, Employment Generation and Export Development The Sixth Commonwealth-India Small Business Competitiveness Development Programme (CW-India Programme) is an institutional capacity building programme being conducted by the Secretariat’s Special Advisory Services Division in partnership with the Coir Board (Ministry of Agro & Rural Industries, Government of India) and Export-Import Bank of India. The overall focus of the CW-India Programme is to promote sustainable competitive small business/SME development across Commonwealth countries, with a skew towards learning from the Indian experience.

So here is a brief list of what went on, observed etc:

  • Airport at Kochi – Do all the men in India have moustaches?? I didn’t spot one without at the airport (and very few subsequently during the rest of the trip). If so there must be more in India than the rest of the world put together??
  • Being an SME is a developing country is a hard game, near life or death?
  • The airport had so so many signs and was relatively quite, I was expecting disorganized chaos
  • Kotchi is extremely Humid and hot (38 oC one day)
  • Is it Cochin or Kochi, depends really!
  • The airport might be quiet, but Kochi town isnt. Its smelly, the traffic the worst i think i have even seen specially in terms of the pollution in back of a auto rickshaw. What will Mumbai (or is that Bombay) be like?
  • You can do a lot with the coconut tree including making yarn, mats, plates and quench the first of 70+ hot and thirst delegates from 34 commonwealth countries. I think the group must of went through about 1000 in the week!
  • India is the place for business now, if you have a business and your now thinking about collaborating with India you must do so NOW.
  • The QE2 isnt as big as it used to be… It was docked in Kochi on the Sunday on part of a around the world cruise

Time has gone again, and AK is here to take me on a tour around Dubai, until later whenever that is?

India 2007 with the Commonwealth 2
India 2007 with the Commonwealth 3

India 2007 with the Commonwealth 1
India 2007 with the Commonwealth 4

January 19, 2007

T4– Team Sheen (Mark & Karl)

Remaining teams tucked up in Bamako hotels. T1 Volvo dead in Timbuktu so catched a lift here.
Chinese and challenge awards and prizes last night, selling last cars today.


January 14, 2007

T4– Team Sheen (Mark & Karl)

Ian & Sam, Nathan & Frankie, Ray & John, Anna & Fillipe arrived in Timbuktu after 9 tough days in desert, just tucked into fab steak and chips and cold beer!


T4–Team Sheen (Mark & Karl)

Just arrived Timbuktu


January 13, 2007

T4 – Team Sheen (Mark & Karl)

At Lere, Mali with Ian & Sam, Nathan & Frank, Ray & John, Anna & Filip, waiting for visas to be sorted again! Aim to be in Timbuktu by Sunday night.


January 10, 2007

T4 – Karl Allegro

Karl Allegro, Sheen, Bodgeit, Landrover, Umm and Nathan’s Merc at Mali frontier. Paula (Shap Ahoy) and fiesta took easier road to Bamako. All well.


T4 – T8 (Nathan)

T8 at the Mali border at Nara doing customs after 2 days driving in the back of beyond. 5 of us now, Merc, Volvo and the 3 4×4s. All safe and cars running well.


January 09, 2007

T4– T3 Shap Ahoy (Nick & Tim)

16:45, three of us just enterd Mali.


January 06, 2007

Teams in Nouakchott, Mauritania

Hi Everyone,

All teams [apart from George] arrived last night from Dakhla to Nouakchott after a 850km drive through endless desert roads. A number of car related minor breakdowns yestersday but ok.

We all stayed together in the Auberge la Dune hotel and had loads of essential pizza in nearby resturant. Hard to believe that Nouakchott is a capital city as no or very limited mobile coverage, cant use credit cards anywhere and no cash points!!!! Very sandy and windy here… Mauritania is such a friendly place though.

This morning Nathan and Frankie off to fix mercedes after tyre problems, Mark and Karl hanging around nice hotel drinking cafe waiting for Nicola to fly in. Together heading off from airport to catch up the rest of the teams who all left in convoy this morning.

Aim over the next couple of days to head towards Kiffa and then Sunday to Nema for fuel and provisions.

Monday to Nara and then a couple of days later onwards to Timbuktu. We will have again limited mobile and internet access until maybe Timbuktu on the 11th or 12th.

Until later,

Mark, Karl and the all T4 teams.


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  • Do you have to visit every country twice to claim them or was the Timbuktu run mostly duplication? by Rob on this entry
  • No, honestly the QE2 was only 10 feet away when that photo was taken, honest! by Mark Swift on this entry
  • The QE2 hasn't got smaller, it's just far away! by Sharon Tuersley on this entry
  • Hi Mark, glad to hear that you have made it to Timbuktu, could you email me to let me know when you … by David Hemming on this entry
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