Riding over the Himalayas – Pt 4

If you’ve read the other parts – you can tell that it was a pretty tough slog.

Accommodation, food, weather, bikes roads… all shite.

So what was good? It can’t be all bad right? Well, the views were amazing. The photos don’t really capture the awe you get when standing on the edge of a cliff.

Here are a collection of some of my photos which you might like. And if you don’t, then let’s see your photos shall we?

I would love nothing more than to drag these Truck driving assholes out of their windows and beat them with their own flip-flops.  Assholes, the lot of them.  Can’t drive for shit and were driving as fast as they could.  Total lack of consideration for any other road user.  It’s no wonder they call these the most dangerous roads in the world.

They’re all in a hurry.

Not sure what was going on in this one.  It was like a game of chicken.  They both came to a halt and just stayed there.  Luckily we could go round the side of them (just).  Just a normal sight on the roads.

Clean your windows mister?

We passed many waterfalls.   At one point I got off my bike and washed all the shit off my boots and bike trousers.  It was no colder than the showers we had in our tents.

I thought it was quite resourceful when I saw a group of people cleaning their cars under one of them.  All well and good, but having seen that, there is no excuse for them smelly bastards to not get under the water themselves.

And not one Polish person in sight

There were stages of road which had a view that made you just stop and take it all in.  This long ride along a valley was just amazing.

Where is the nearest 7-11?

With all the riders at different paces.. we all took photos which captured other riders in the distance.   The shot below is pretty cool.  Could be any of us.  Except Huggy.  He always had the Sweeper vehicle close behind him.

Could be on MARS…

One of the rare pictures taken behind Huggy.  He did like to take things steady.  Don’t know what he was scared of?  It’s only a little drop over the side….

Watch out for bears.

The guy below ‘Samba’ was the Point man.  He would lead us the way.  He drove like a nutter and it was hard keeping up with him.  One of the afternoons on a long fast run I thought I’d give him a run for his money.  I stayed right on his tail and he couldn’t shake me.  In the end he went down – smashing his lights, mirrors and bent his handle bars.  The main damage was to his pride though.  I picked his bike up for him while he got himself together.    I promised not to tell the other guys in the support group about his crash.

Another day at work

The mechanics were pretty good.  However,  I had some problems with my bike which they struggled with.  A couple guys from the group test rode my bike and said it was dangerous and unrideable.  They couldn’t figure out how I was riding it (so well!)  I complained to the mechanics – that it was either fuel starvation or electrics.  Try the HT Leads from the Plugs I told them.

They checked it out – and hey presto – the leads were faulty.  At mid-high revs the bike would splutter and cut out.  The only thing I could do was use a higher gear and chose different riding lines.  This was a little on the dangerous side as bike was going faster in places that it should.  Anyway, once it was fixed – I was a happy bunny.

Wheel change in under 4 mins.

And we’re done.   Ride over.  No one died.   We had a days rest in a craphole called Leh.  Russ, Huggy and I all had a drink with the gang and spoke of the ups and downs and what tours/challenges we faced ahead of us.

They were a real good bunch of people.   Since the ride we’ve all been ‘group’ e-mailing and sharing photos.  Once we have all the photos, of course we’ll all forget about each other. That’s how this normally works.

Done.. I want to go home now.

With the ride over with – I couldn’t wait to get to a decent hotel.  All I wanted was a big fluffy white towel and a hot bath.  And food.  And wifi.   And a shave.

I’ve been asked if I was glad I did it – and would I do it again?

Yes, I am glad I did it.  It was a fantastic experience.  I loved the riding.  The rest was shite.

Would I do it again?  No.  Even if it were free.  I don’t see the point in doing it again.

What was the best road of the entire trip?   Easy….. the runway!

I flew 1st Class back to Bangkok.  I needed it.  It was the best sleep, food, shower, and wifi I’d had in a while.

Home James…

Most of my bitching and moaning were mainly for comedic purposes.  I couldn’t help making sarcastic or derogatory remarks when really I should have been overwhelmed by it all.  That’s just me.  I am not easily impressed.

So it was only right that when I was given the menu, I took a photo and sent it to Russ and Huggy with the caption “I hate Caviar”


Russ, Huggy and I are now planning our next trip.  Route 66 with some detours.   Starting in NYC – and ending up in Santa Monica.   There will also be a visit to Roswell, Huntingdon Beach, Vegas and Malibu.  Of course,  the last day will be spent drinking in L.A.

Who’s in?

That’s all folks!













Riding over the Himalayas – Pt 3

O.k, so each day we’d get up around 6am. Drink some ‘Masala  tea’ (milky tea with 15 sugars) and wait for breakfast at 7. By 8am we were suited and booted ready to roll. We had a 5 min briefing and off we went. Meet up for lunch somewhere along the way and then head off again until the hotel.

That was the script.

Let give some details of some the challenges we faced.

Hotels /Guesthouses/Home-Stays.

For me, the accommodations are what spoiled the ‘adventure’. I am no snob (honestly) but I do expect a certain level of standard. Especially when I am paying premium prices. If I can stay on the QE2 for £50 a night, then I am sure the budget for accommodation on the trip would cover something a lot better than we were given.

Reminds me of home – in Iraq.

Most of the time there was no hot water. Some of the time there was no water at all. On the few times we had electricity, it was for a limited time only. Wifi? Forget it. 8 days with no cellular/data network.

o.k, so the tent had a good view.

One of the hotels was ‘acceptable’ – but still not a place I’d stay if it were anywhere else in the world. On the last day when there was wifi – it didn’t reach my room so I had to go to the lobby to connect. Even then it was dog slow.

The bathrooms…well… let’s not go there. No… let’s do. Here are some photos of the Toilet and the Shower. I know I am short, but even I couldn’t get under that (cold) tap.

The toilet or the shower?


The majority of the roads were gravel/stone. There were some days where it was nice tarmac – but mostly it was gravel. This would send shocks / vibrations up your arms for hours. After a days riding – you certainly felt it.

o.k… so they were not all bad.

Ever get your knee down on an Enfield?

We passed many locals on the side of the (mountain) road – breaking rocks. With sledgehammers. All day, just smashing up the big rocks and turning them into smaller rocks. If you ever think you have a bad job – then spare a thought for those poor bastards.

Hard day at the office.


We got caught in a few storms – which lead to some land-slides. One afternoon there were several sections of road which got washed away. We had no choice other than to cross the section which was now a flowing river. It was tough. Real tough.

Riding through flowing water with no idea of where the rocks were beneath. I went through the water and hit a rock. I couldn’t see it and the bike was going nowhere. Several attempts to free the bike were unsuccessful. Exhausted as gasping for air – I had no choice other than to hand the bike over to a fellow rider and go catch my breath back.

15 mins earlier – that was a road.

This was normal. Some were fortunate to not get caught on the rocks. Others got stuck. As a group, we all pulled together to help out.

Once me and the bike were across. I’d park up and walk back into the water/mud and help out the next person who got stuck. This for me was actually quite a good part of the trip. All working together no matter how wet, muddy and cold we got. No one was left behind.

There were other crossings which were dry – bit still an absolute nightmare to cross. Just large boulders and rocks where a road should have been. The bikes took a real hammering. Amazed they made it.

Going nowhere


Everyone on the ride all got the shits. That was – except for me! I avoided most of the food.

Breakfast was safest. Toast and Marmite. Vegemite for the Aussies. Can’t go wrong with that. Load up as much as you can so you’re not hungry come lunchtime.

Lunchtime was usually a regroup for everyone. We all descended on a roadside stall/café. There was no way in hell I was eating that garbage. I’d watch the old ladies cleaning plates from a tap using just their hands… no thanks.. not for me.

When asked if I wanted lunch – I politely told them to shove it.

I would instead chow-down on Cereal bar. You can poke your Dahl and whatever shite was on the menu.

Dinner was usually served at 8pm. By this time we were all hungry. 8 out of 10 nights it was Dahl on the menu. Rice of course and some other poo coloured crap. Again, I’d swerve all that and grab any bread that was on offer. There were nights where I just walked away from the table in disgust. Surely they could have put on a better offering? A good way to lose a few kilos though.


We climbed to over 5500 meters . 17500 ft. Not much oxygen up there. Very hard to breath. Small things like putting on your socks would see you get out of breath. Sleeping? Hell.. I thought I was suffocating all the time. Horrible. Unpleasant and I didn’t like it.

When will this be over?

Didn’t really notice it when riding along – unless you got stuck and had to drag your bike over a rock. I did see the Doctor with a large oxygen tank and was hoping he’d give us all a shot on that but he never did.

The Bike Gear

I got fully kitted up. The helmet was my Union Jack lid! Easy to spot in a group. Drone footage and photos – I wanted to stand out a little. The usual tough waterproof gear with protection. Great set of boots and extra body armour for good measure.

Our luggage was carried in the Support vehicle, so I made a point of packing as much clothing as I could. 12 pairs of socks, 12 pairs of skiddies, jeans, shorts, t-shirts etc.. I didn’t much fancy having to wash my clothing in the local river like the rest of India.

Always be prepared!

My plan paid of tenfold. Many of the group had to wear wet, dirty clothing from the day before as there was no means to wash or dry their stuff. As all boy scouts… I came prepared.


We were given the GPS coordinates which were downloaded to my iPhones. I carried the 6+ to use as a GPS and the iPhone X for my camera. Neither were any use as a phone or internet access up there.

Day 1 – when I pulled over for a rest with some other bikers… a little car pulled up with two Indian chaps and called out to us. Our Indian leader approached the car. I didn’t like the sound of this – as I thought they’d seen one of us break down or even crash.

Amazed I was when they called my name! Turns out that my iPhone 6 fell out of my pocket and landed in the road! Several 100 cars and lorries drove over it – as the screen was cracked. It still worked though! Luckily, in the cover I had a business card and also a photo of a bike on the screen – so they must have put 2+2 together and realised I was a foreign biker and pulled over when they saw us.

Of course I gave the guy loads of Rupees for being a good Samaritan. – The phone still worked and you couldn’t notice the screen when looking at the GPS. Lucky boy! I got the screen replaced back in HH for 2500bht. (bargain!)

Where the fuck is my bike?

I think you get the idea of that it was all about.

I have some other cool pictures which I’ll share on my next instalment.

Carry on




Riding over the Himalayas Pt.2

Pt 1

And he’s off.

The traffic was mad. Why the guide would set us off into lunchtime traffic in the city is beyond me. To add insult to injury, it started pissing down with rain 5 mins before we set off. This was shit.

The weather got worse – and we hit fog. All we could do was follow the bike in front. The biker at the front of our group was following ‘Samba’ – the lead guide. He was a local, and rode like one. Over-taking as many vehicles as possible, no matter how dangerous. Which meant us lot had to ride like the clappers to keep up.

Of course, no one wanted to say ‘hang on a minute, this is a bit tough isn’t it’? – in fear of being ridiculed by the rest of us. At least that’s how I felt.

We hit the guesthouse several hours later. We were told that soon there will be no cellular or data network, so make the most of it.

Russ by this time had his visa and was heading to the Dubai airport to catch the overnight flight. A car was picking him up. By the next night – we’d be reunited with him.

The hotel may have been a nice hotel in the 30’s… and was still (locally) referred to as a plush hotel. For me, it was shite. Food was shite, service was shite and the room was shite. There were Monkeys outside sitting on trees. Even they preferred a tree to one of the bedrooms easily accessed via the open windows.

Fog, clouds…whatever…

The following day I had a positive attitude. The rain had stopped and I cleaned my bike. Positive attitude.

As soon as we set off it pissed down with rain. The fog came in, the traffic was horrendous and the roads were shite. So much for positive thinking.

Another challenging day trying to stay alive.

When we arrived at the hotel after a days riding – Russ was there waiting. Looking fresh, dry, clean and relaxed. The only one in the 17 strong group. The rest of us looked like we’d been living rough for the last few days.

I later found out what living rough was really all about.

With Russ now in the team – Russ, Huggy and I decided to ride together going forward. The rest of the group also split up into their little packs/teams.

Each morning we were given a 5 min talk about what lay ahead and where the rendezvous point was. We’d be told about a check-point where we could get lunch (And re-group) and where the next hotel was. Apart from that – we were pretty much left to fend for ourselves.

We set off. After 5 mins of being stuck behind Huggy and Russ – I nailed the throttle and gave it some beans. And when I say beans… 110kph is all the Enfield had to give. Still, going around hair pin bends and over gravel, it was quite hairy. I soon caught up and over took everyone. This gave me chance to stop off at various places, take some snaps of the view and also the other bikers as they rode by. For this reason, I have many snaps of other bikers – but none taken of me! No choice but to take selfies.

I guess I’ll take a selfie then lads

After lunch – the Aussies asked me if I wanted to join their group on a fast ride. The roads were gravel/stone.. hard terrain. The tour guide kept everyone else back as he didn’t want them following us – as we were identified as the better riders. He was worried the other might over-stretch themselves and fall off. So with our new riding skills firmly acknowledged – off we went like scalded cats.

The Aussies were good. Very good. They were moto-cross riders with great bike skills and no fear. I was purely running on ego. I rode in second position, making sure I was filling up the leaders mirror. The guys behind me we not far off. It was good riding and very tough.

When we hit the black top road, I found my mojo… hanging off the bike, scraping footpegs as I hit the apex of the bends…. I was showing off. It was great! When we came to the checkpoint – they said ‘good ride Rossi’! I had earned their respect. But man, these guys were good.

Later that day – the rest of the group met up with us at the camp. I told Russ and Huggy that I’ll not race off again – and that we can ride together and share the experience. They just need to speed up a little.

Hotel / Guesthouses were now getting lower in quality. Internet had gone – but we could use our Cellular Data on our phones. Hot water was now a luxury in the evenings.

This wasn’t in the brochure..

Next day – we were getting into the Mountains, less traffic but larger vehicles wanting to run us over.

That’s what I came for

I can’t remember the full scenario – but a lorry was bearing down on Russ.. he took evasive action and clipped a big rock. He went down and twisted his ankle. We picked him and his bike up. He seemed o.k. I told him to man up and just walk it off and off he rode. All in his stride.

Turns out it was a little more serious – and he was unable to stride by the end of the day! So much so that he could not walk on his foot. A few of us had to carry him to his (now) tent where the Doctors examined him and told him it was a bad sprain. We asked for an ice pack – which arrived 4 hours later.

Russ couldn’t walk – and certainly couldn’t ride. Once again he’d be in the car and one of the support guys would be riding his bike. 25% through the holiday and the support guy had done more riding on Russ’s bike than he had.

Russ rested for a day and a half. With his bike boots on, he was able to limp enough to get around so was allowed back on a bike. For any river crossings – he’d give up the bike and have someone else cross on it. There was no way his ankle would support his weight and the bike in a river….

And this is fun right?

And so it went on like that for the next week or so. Tough rides. River crossings, land slides, dirt roads etc… crap hotels.. no water.

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

You have a rough idea of what the days were like. For the next post, I’ll detail some of the challenges instead of giving a day-by-day account.

Riding over the Himalayas – Pt 1

What was I thinking? What on earth possessed me to spend more than 5k to go on ‘holiday’ to India?

I did keep a journal, but I’ll not repeat it all. It’ll take too long. I’ll give you the start and then a few more instalments of what it was like – with a bunch of photos which I think are pretty cool. Expect it over 3 or 5 posts.

Some background…

The Tour – it’s an official organised company tour. If you’ve ever seen the Top Gear Vietnam Special – well these are the guys that actually ran that tour.

It’s for experienced riders. Have no doubt about it – this is one of the most challenging rides you can do. For a biker, this is probably the ultimate in bike tours on the planet. I kid you not.

The Bikes – Royal Enfields 500 Bullets. Shite. Although – I can’t think of any other bike I would have done it on.

Indias finest…..

My Gang – My pals Russ and Huggy joined me. (Russ is a good rider at speed, but slow manoeuvres…., well, he is 9 feet tall so that doesn’t help. I was worried about him) Huggy, he is cautious (slow). Very cautious. No off-road experience at all. Only sleepy village riding. Me – well, fast riding, motocross, stunt school, pretty much all round super-hero.… I’ve a stable of various bikes – I know how to ride.

Happier times….

The other Gang – Good bunch of people. Three Aussies who were ‘proper Aussies’. They were cool and good experienced riders. Some old Kiwi’s entering the final stages of their lives, a Techie guy from the States who was on his own and a Husband and Wife from Idaho who are both Doctors. We made a mental note to not be far away from them. We also had a Husband and Wife who were riding on the same bike. Hats off to them. It was tough fighting with the bikes and terrain. To have your nagging wife on the back also takes real guts. In total, there were 17 riders.

Accommodation – this was all part of the package, some tents, home-stays and guest-houses (read that as ‘shite’) Rooms were for 2 persons and any singles had to pay a $500 extra fee. We split the $500 and took turns in having the single room

Terrain – some normal roads, but most is gravel, stone, mud, river crossings, landslides.. basically everything you are not used to.

Food – crap.

The Support – All our luggage was carried in a 4×4 van which followed. Another couple of pick-up trucks carried bike spares, water, tools etc. In the Support Team were a couple of Mechanics, a Doctor and some other guys who I’ve no idea what they did. One guy rode a bike at the back of the group – and behind him was the ‘Sweeper’ truck. He would make sure the last man (usually Huggy) was not left behind.

And we’re off….

To this day, I still do not remember agreeing to this trip. I’ve looked over old e-mails and messages with Russ and I can’t see anything where I agreed to it. I can only assume it was a drunken night where Russ said “instead of paying you the $500 share of last night’s bar-bill, I’ll pay your deposit for the India trip”. That is the only scenario I can think of.

This deposit was paid last year. There was a lot of prep-work that went into this trip. We had to buy all new ‘bike gear’, obtain visas and permits, insurances and flights.. not to mention rearrange our work schedules so we are all off at the same time.

Roll on 9 months, a few trips back to the US and UK to get our new bike stuff and we were set.

A night in Dubai to synchronize watches. Checked in at the airport at 2am only to be told that Russ’s visa was no good – as it was in his old passport (he got a new passport a few weeks ago). Now, every other Country in the world will accept a visa which is in an expired passport. It’s normal. For example, a Thai has a 10 year UK visa – but the passport is only valid for 5 years. You can still use the visa in an old passport).

Anyway, this was India. They were having none of it.

Russ was going nowhere – except the Indian embassy later that day to get an emergency visa. I did offer Russ to try and use my passport – and I stay behind but that would require him shaving his head and cutting his legs off at the knee.

Huggy and I proceeded to India – and Russ to find a hotel by the embassy. If the visa takes any longer than 3 or 4 days – will the extra expense (visa and flights) be worth it? Will we see Russ again?

Coming into land… well.. I can’t say I was impressed by New Delhi. If this was New Delhi, what was the old one like? Madness. Total chaos. What had I done?

I’ve seen better views…

Straight to Claridges Hotel. That doesn’t sound too bad now does it? It’s Claridges after all!

Now, I could list everything that pained me. I could moan about all the little niggles and issues I have with all the things in my daily life that make angry and grumpy.. but what’s the point? All I am going to say is – from my 5 star hotel window – this was my view.

Getting a funny feeling about this….

We met the team who were on the trip. The tour guide was not much of a guide if I am honest. He just started talking about random things. It was then I interrupted him and suggested we all introduce ourselves so we all know who each other is. That’s basic meeting people protocol right?

The next morning was a 5 hour coach ride to a place where we’d meet our Royal Enfield’s. Driving through Delhi, I came to realise how well off I am. And not just me – I am talking about anyone who doesn’t live in Delhi. My god. What a place. Words do not describe this place. Well, there are some words, but I am trying to cut down on the swearing.

At lunchtime – we arrived at a carpark where our bikes were waiting. Each had a sticker on the tank. That was to be our ride for the next 12 days. Except Russ’s bike. That was to be ridden by one of the support team until he arrived.

My bike didn’t seem too bad. This is the best it will ever look.

My Noble Steed…

Speaking of Russ – he was still in Dubai – going back and forth from immigration to the embassy, trying to sort out his visa. He was told he would receive it the following day, so optimistically booked his flight for the next night. As soon as he touched down in Delhi, we had a car waiting to drive him to us. By that time – we would be 10 hours away.

After changing into our bike gear in the carpark. We saddled up and got on the bikes. It was then we were given a form to sign and told the following.

• Rules of the road are – bikes don’t matter. Get out the way of any truck/car.

• Expect a car on your side of the road on a blind bend.

• There is no cellular network where we are going, so if you crash – you’ll probably die.

• Emergency services are more or less non-existent up in the mountains – so if you crash, you’ll probably die.

• There are roads which have rivers flowing across them – so if you fall off in them – you’ll probably die

• Be careful what you eat – you’ll probably die.

• The mountain roads are single lane – if a lorry is coming, hug the cliff wall rather than going off the cliff – as you may die.

• Beware of falling rocks. If they hit you – you will die.

• Expect Cows in the roads. Try and avoid them.

• You’ll be at high altitude. We have a doctor who will monitor your oxygen levels. It’s hard to breath up there – you may die.

There was a pattern developing here. This was not in the sales brochure. I was getting a little worried.

That was it…. We were told to ride as a group for the next 4 hours and meet up at the hotel for the night.

Then.. having no time to get used to the bike – we set off into the city which was heaving with useless fucking bastards in car who can’t drive for shit.

It was then I realised – I may die.

This is where it will end…

Still moaning….

Since returning from the Himalayas – I’ve been rushing around and hardly anytime to get worked up and pissed off with anything.

I am kidding of course. It only takes a few hours of being in Thailand before I get angry, frustrated, fed up, disappointed and pissed off.

In-between that, I did the rounds in Hua Hin, visited a new restaurant, had a night out with Stickboy and booked a night on the QE2.
I’ll do the Himalayas later. What’s pissing me off right now?

Airports. (again) Not the actual building, but the complete idiots that I find myself sharing the airport with.

These fools can’t wait to get off the plane as soon as the wheels touch down. However, as soon as the plane door is open then seem to slow down faster than someone who is dragging a club foot.

And why is it when they get to the travelator.. they stop walking? They’ve just spent hours sitting on their arses on the plane – and the 1st chance they get to have a walk, they hobble along at a snail’s pace and then stop walking all together as soon as they get the chance.

Last week – on the Emirates flight, some Italian buffoon thought it was totally acceptable behaviour to laugh at the top of his voice at some crap movie he was watching. I asked if I could move seats (the plane was pretty empty) as I didn’t know what was more annoying for the other passengers – Italian boy laughing or my constant yelling ‘will you shut the fuck up you wanker’.

And it’s not just the airport. I’ve noticed there is an increase in ‘bodies’ in Bangkok too. The skywalk is full of Chinese.. all doddering along. My fave restaurant is full of Chinese now. Sukhumvit road is full of Chinese and Middle-Eastern folk. Low season? I’ve never seen the streets so busy.

Honestly – I hate walking down Sukhumvit now. When I am not tripping over the Chinese or Arabs, I am having to walk in the road as some fat cow will be on the sidewalk troffing noodles next to a foodstall.

I’d take a cab – but they’re all shit too. If you are lucky enough for one to take to the place where he was going anyway, you still have to go through the meter negotiation and then suffer his crap music.

All this to get from T21 to Suk soi 4. Soi 4.. where do I start? It’s a craphole. Don’t get me wrong, many years ago, as far as I was concerned soi 4 was Bangkok. Everything I needed in one street. Beer, women, Laundry and Internet café all in a stone’s throw.

Not now. It’s full of undesirables, grumpy old men (is that me?) and Chinese tourists. It’s shit.

There was a time when I could forgive all the crap in the soi – because the roads were paved with hot girls. Now, the hottest girls are probably the ones that actually paved the roads.

Nope.. for me… Sukhumvit is a toilet.

That didn’t stop me heading out one night to meet up with Stickboy for a few shandies. More on that later.

Back in Hua Hin things are not much better. Lot’s of tourists/families around at the moment. That’s fine. More people for Miss Tim and I to laugh and poke fun at as we sit in the bar getting drunk.

So.. ALL BEER is 59bht? I’ll take it all then please.

We happened upon a new (to us) Indian restaurant the other night so thought we’d give it a go. The service staff were more miserable and grumpy than me. The food was average but what really pissed me off was the Thai Owner (I think) would come outside and sit at one of the empty tables and watch some crap on his phone with the volume up loud. Now, as much as I wanted to kick the phone up his arse, I know better than to upset the people who prepare my food.

Another couple didn’t though – and turned to him and had a go at the guy – who then went back inside – into the kitchen. Hmm…

So in the 10 days I was back in Thailand, it wasn’t much fun for me. I used to look forward to going there, but now I find myself thinking of other places I can go. Luckily next month we are off to the UK for a few weeks for a bit of normality.

Any ideas?

Carry on…..

From the QE2….

One gets very nostalgic when talking about the QE2.  Or even Concorde.  Iconic British (o.k, and French) superstructures and magnificent engineering feats and overwhelming luxury.  – (in the 80’s.)

You can’t fly on Concorde anymore – but you can stay on the QE2.   How so?

Well, a few months ago I heard a radio interview on the Emirates flight – and the discussion was the soon to be opened QE2 Hotel!   Wait… whaaaaat?

So right now – I am posting this from the QE2….

The UAE bought the QE2 back in 2007 and have been ‘fixing her up’ ever since.  Lot of changes internally but lots of the ships original features have been preserved.    The lounges, furniture, paintings, wall signs… lots and lots – as it was back in the day.   Except now it has wifi.

The QE2 doesn’t officially open until October.   However, the ‘soft’ opening was a few months ago.  Some of the rooms are available, not all.   Most of the restaurants and bars are not yet open.  Most shops are still under construction.    The view outside looks like a building site.   Probably why you can get a room for $60 per night.

The (cheap) rooms are pretty basic.   So are the deluxe rooms.   Personally, I prefer the Four Points.

Basic Room. Would go mad after a few hours.

The room service is virtually non-existent.  Some toasties and a muffin or something.  I did venture to the ‘Convenience Store’  – where they sold Instant Noodles and Curried Chicken Samosas.   Don’t expect prompt service though.  The cashier spent most of his time sitting at a table, playing with his phone.

I was hoping for a gift shop. Maybe buy a T-Shirt with the QE2 logo?  Nada.

The location isn’t great either.  Not much can be done about that really.   Need water.

The view….

Forget it if you think you can go for a little stroll into the town.  Or a shop or restaurant.

Just for show… no Gambling going on here…

One thing I found rather novel, is that all the novels from the QE2 library were kept – and can now be found in the lobby.

Not sure I’d stay long enough to read a whole book.

Four times per day – there is a (free) QE2 tour.   A little chap speaks of the history and takes us for a wander.   As most of the ship is not ready, we couldn’t see the good stuff – like the Bridge or the Engine room.   Just some old Ball Rooms, theatre and Casinos.  Pretty impressive for the 70’s.

View from the QE2

Out on deck,  well,  it was a bit grubby.  I do hope they give the old girl a good clean.  I can’t help but feel let down by the presentation.  This is the QE2 goddamnit!

Scrubbers needed.

If you want a quiet/romantic night on board – it’s perfect.  You’d not want to stay longer.  Not at the moment.   Once it’s properly up and running maybe.   Thing is – once you’ve spent a night or two on the ship, the novelty wears off.

The Queens Hall…

There will be Friday Brunches here after October – but I get the impression it’ll be a Family type of Brunch. I might give it a go.

Another one off the bucket list.

Speaking of lists…. here is one taken from the website.


• 224 refurbished rooms and suites
• An interactive exhibition on the QE2’s history
• Dubai skyline and oceanic views
• Five restaurant and nightlife venues
• A chic shopping arcade (coming soon)
• A spa (coming soon)
• Live entertainment, a theatre and cinema (coming soon)
• Concierge services
• Complimentary shuttle bus services (coming soon)
• Airport transfers

Even though I was unable to enjoy a fully opened QE2… it’s still pretty cool to be able to say I stayed here.

The biggest problem.. and I have no idea how to address this…. was that there was no ‘buzz’ factor.   Does that make sense?  I didn’t feel any excitement or atmosphere.

I remember being in the presence of Concorde when I was younger – and I was in awe.  I don’t know…. something is missing for sure.

Will I be back?  Maybe around Christmas time.