2013 Review

Another eventful year has ended, and more memories piled atop old. I’m struggling these days even more to hold them all in my head, and find that some leak out as others enter. I hope this post immortalises some of them, capturing an hint of them to serve as a future prompt, a link to a sight, a story, a smell that still lingers in my brain. Before all that though, here is a little clip of how we ushered in 2014 in Germany!

Pictures and videos for some of these memories to come soon! All links below are to existing blog posts on the topics.

January (Japan)

  • Snowboarding with Arnault, Delphine and friends at Nozawa Onsen on multiple weekends
  • The green shoes with pink laces finally paid off when I met Julia

February (Japan)

  • Completed my first marathon, the Tokyo Marathon in 4 hrs 12 minutes and achieved my goal of running the whole 42kms.
  • A big month for work, with the INPEX, IFC and both JICA BoP projects all  being wrapped up at the same time
  • Off-piste snowboarding with Arnault, Delphine and friends.

March (Japan and Thailand)

  • A weekend trip to the Boso peninsular and the fire festival at Takao-San with Julia
  • 10 day return bike trip to Osaka and surrounds and return via Route 19 with Julia, including a catch-up with Lloyd-san.

April (Thailand)

May (Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda)

June (Africa, Holland and USA)

  • Cederburg bike and hike weekend
  • Amsterdam stop-over and catch-up with Julia
  • New York visit for training
  • Presentation of South African PoC site selection model to NHLS PoC forum in Pretoria

July (Africa, Munich, Austria, Slovakia and Italy)

  • Ethiopian food and cultural night with the team
  • Catch-up with Samir and Julia in Munich
  • Train trip From Munich to Bratislava via Vienna
  • Best man for Bryans wedding in Bratislava
  • Family holiday in Sardinia, Italy
  • Rome weekend with Julia

August (South Africa)

  • Supporting the SA DAT team transition
  • NeighbourGoods and ArtonMain markets
  • Apartheid museum

September (South Africa, Lesotho, Ethiopia)

  • Hiking Cathkin peak and the Cathederal, Drakensburg mountains with Antoinette
  • Raspberry day trip with John and Sameera
  • Lesotho Wine tasting festival

October (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland)

  • Cape Town to Lesotho via the Garden Route bike journey
  • Cube 10 course degustation dinner for my 30th birthday with Julia, drinks with John, Hanna, Antoinette and Vibhutti.
  • Kruger, Swaziland, Drakensburgs, and outback Lesotho bike tour with Julia

November (Lesotho, South Africa)

  • DAT Access Summit in Pretoria
  • Golf with Nick in Pretoria
  • Hiking Ketane Falls in Lesotho with Emma, Bhavya, Jenna and friends.

December ( South Africa, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Munich)

  • SA team strategy week and Regimen Optimisation workshops
  • Weekend wine tasting in the Stellenbosch with Maria, Micah and Bhavya
  • LST strategy meeting in Camps Bay and SA POC modelling team workshop
  • Ethiopia GeneXpert Workshop and presentation in Adama
  • Julia and friends traditional Christmas eve ‘Werewolf’ game
  • Christmas in Bavaria with Julias’ family
  • Snow shoe hiking in the Alps
  • NYE celebration in Munich

Book review: “Poor economics”

If you haven’t caught it yet there is another book review on my work blog, this time specific to development economics – “Poor economics”. It is a must read for anyone in this field, and a should read for anyone that works in unknown environments and cultures.

Also, a review of John-Paul Sartre’s “The age of reason” will be coming soon so I can get it out of my backpack!


Major service

The bike had hit 30,000KM and was in need of service. The front brake calliper dust pads were ripped, the lever grating under pressure and the face of the screws on the brake fluid box completely worn and unable to be unscrewed. Plus the engine was running rough with chugging and surging occurring under acceleration and to top it all off suspension oil was starting to leak out of the top air valves.

So, considering it was supposed to be rainy season I pulled the bike apart to get to the carburettors, which I suspected of being responsible for the rough engine performance no doubt caused by the dusty roads in Timor and the poor quality fuel from there and Indonesia.

Sure enough, the diaphragm valves of the carbies both had numerous scratch’s and the butterfly valves were sticky with carbon deposits. I prepared for my toughest maintenance job yet – disassembling and cleaning the carbies. Try as I might though, I couldn’t get past step 1 of the manual – disconnecting the brace that keeps both carbies level! Probably a good thing since you are supposed to have a special tool to make sure they are level when you reconnect them!

Rather than put everything back together and take the whole bike for service, I figured it would be better (cheaper) just to take in the parts that needed work. After several trips to Bikers community land I finally made it in with the front brake (caliper, hose and lever), carbies and translator. They were very surprised to hear of a Kawasaki KLE 500 in Japan! Turns out there would be more parts for my bike in Europe as it was only manufactured for Europe, Africa and Australia. They have been extremely helpful though and we identified enough replacement parts for the carbies and calliper to make it worthwhile, plus I will finally upgrade the brake with a new Daytona lever and steel braided hose.

Upgrade to a progressive spring for the front suspension is also in the pipeline. Should be back on the road by Septermber, just in time for Richys visit.