So what’s the Plan?

After the best two weeks I’ve had so far in my life, I’m waking up to a new world. The six hours of sleep I managed last night feels like a luxury, and after opening my eyes to that newly rising sun, I ask myself an elusive question that has become legendary here. What’s the Plan?

Nowhere in the world have I heard these words as often as I have in this crazy food loving country of Pakistanis. It’s as if every time the door opens, someone walks in to ask, so what’s the plan, and not once has it received an answer.

Life is bitter sweet without the answer, and as a true romantic it’s what gives my life a sense of adventure. Always a thousand plans but knowing that not a single one will go the way I think.

There is always something amongst these plans that shines through the fog like a lighthouse, pulsing itself and guiding the way. It cannot be seen with the minds eye, because it is not Einsteinian light. It is the light of intuition, and that can only be felt as it warms up the heart, usually through the stomach.

So, what’s the Plan?

The man of the house where we are staying at the moment knows that warm fuzzy feeling in the stomach. The food here has been absolutely spot on every single time, and it tickles from the first touch on the lips until morning.

While most of the world has alcohol for entertainment, the Pakistanis have their food. I think this is one of the many reasons that makes Pakistan a cornerstone for world food. Just like Thailand, every Pakistani knows about the ingredients, which tastes go with what, and how the ingredients should be prepared. But what makes this country different from Thailand, is that the food doesn’t stop coming, and it’s more of a desert taste. I should maybe say dessert taste instead, because even though the savoury dishes here can be mouthwatering, this is a country with the sweetest of sweets.

I’ve never been a fan of desserts in my life, but somehow I’ve ended up being lured into the magic of sweet things. Some are not so good, some are better than others, and some can turn your world upside down. I’ve learnt that in the midst of trying to make sense of the world through half open eyelids, a sugar rush is just what is needed.

And the choice is endless. You can imagine people since the dawn of time smoking up some of the worlds best hash and putting their heads together to make some sweet munchies. They have come up with everything, and imagination has definitely not been in their way.

There is one dessert which goes above all else on the creative munchies scale, The Falouda. This is a mix of many things and it differs from place to place, but usually it goes something like this. Holy basil seeds, fresh whole milk, caste sugar, cardamons, rose syrup, vanilla ice cream, toasted pistachios or almonds, rice vermicelli, and some sort of candy on top.

Most places that make these manage to get an unnatural sugary taste to it, at least for me, but looking at the list of ingredients I think it could be pimped up into something with the sweetest of nature that would even lure out my tongue.

For example the candy decor on top can swapped with rose pedals, the rose syrup could be made from scratch, or maybe there is a brand of syrup that has a more delicate taste so it doesn’t overpower everything else. Maybe even making some rose honey from that nectar of the mountains. And ice cream. Ice cream is something that can be ok, or it can be jumping up and down ecstatically delicious.

It’s all up to the chef and his/her so called plan. Take the easy way and the taste buds might thank you, but going with the flow, making an effort, and adding a little love into the mix at every stage can caress the ever changing balance of the taste buds into a near orgasmic state of dance.

So, what is the Plan?

We are romantics, so we always end up going with the flow, enjoying the company, and dreaming of those sweetest things in life. The days go on like this, morning ’til evening, socialising, eating, and falling in love.

Ramadan had an Eid of a finale and it’s time to go. We have one more week with our visa extensions and we need a way out. What’s the plan?

The Karen People

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Yesterday we went for an adventure. We got fed up just lying around in Mae Moei resting, and we had finished all the unfinished work that we needed to do. So we hopped on our little monster truck and decided to do some off-roading.

Everyone says the roads in Myanmar are really bad, and the new super snazzy highway that connects Yangon to Mandalay, is a four laned, overpriced airstrip that has nothing. It goes through nowhere, has no traffic, and apparently is completely useless. We’re better off breaking down on the old road, because at least there, we might run into someone that can help.

So as a warmup we took on the mud and the holes, and our baby bird flew like an angel. She tackled everything that was thrown in her way, except Pyry’s muscles. Sometimes he can be a bit rough while screwing around.

After the breaking in, our angel had started whining a little, so we decided to tighten her up before getting wet again after Songkran. We gave a good yank on every nut and bolt we could find, and the last one, one of the four bolts that keep the front wheel connected, snapped under Pyry’s humungous strength…

Luckily we had decided to do this in front of a shop that just happened to have nice people, with the right tools. In a jiffy they took out the old bolt and gave us a new one, slightly shorter, but seemed a bit harder, so I really hope size doesn’t matter. I think that as long as it’s hard and doesn’t break, it should work fine.

After tightening our nuts, we headed off into the mystery roads that even google maps have never heard of. In the end we found what didn’t know we were looking for, a beautiful valley between two luscious mounds. Every mans dream.

We asked if we could stay the night, and like usually, we were very welcomed. Suddenly there were dozens of kids running around, some throwing our knives around and others playing karate kid with our juggling clubs. Everyone was having a blast.

Once finished, we were so hungry that we bought some of the local eggs and made a Khai Jiao, Thai style omelette on our heavenly kitchen. I think the eggs came from the chicken that was continuously watching me cook, or then from one of the other hundreds that were freely running around. These village people let all life join in the fun, and by doing that, they stay healthy, with nutritious, natural, fresh, free food at all times.

Then we went to wash up in the mountain stream and were greeted by the only man who spoke english. He asked what we were doing, and instead of camping, he asked us to his home. This is when we found out that we had stumbled into a village that has been inhabited by the Karen Tribe for over a millennium.

He showed us to his home, and we chatted for hours. We asked about the Karen people, and they asked us about Finnish people. We laughed a lot and shared very similar views of many things, including the fact that they pride themselves on helping each other, without accepting money.

In the end Juho and Santin found their deepest connection, a true love they share together, Football. It goes to show, that we’re all basically the same.

Then we had dinner. I don’t know what it was, but it was kind of like a crab and fish stew with rice. They were amazed that in Finland we have to pay for our crabs, while they just pick them up from the river. Even the water tasted like proper water, because it came straight from the mountain stream with only a little filtering, though in Finland, the ground water doesn’t even need to be filtered.

Then we found out that the Karen food, compared to Thai food, uses no fish sauce, no sugar, and unlike in Finland, the small crabs are meant to be eaten with the shell on. That way they are much more nutritious, and taste really nice. It was like eating chips.

After our tummies looked like they were about to burst, we jumped on the pick up and went to look for the Songkran after party. This time we got so lost that even the locals didn’t know where we were.

We ended up coming back to the village, where they had pitched up a tivoli at the temple grounds, and enjoyed the old school film projector, and Pyry shot some stuffed rabbits for his godson.

Then it was time to sleep.

We woke up at the third call of the roosters, i.e. 5 am, the natural wake up time. It’s amazing how one rooster starts, then the next one joins in, then the next, then a dog, and soon the whole valley is echoing with life. It is simply the most natural wake up call, and it feels good.

We packed up, checked the oil, checked the water, and rolled off towards the sunrise. It was a wonderful experience.

Ta blu dòh mä, my brothers! You shall always be in our hearts.

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Songkran

Snakes keep popping up everywhere. Not a single day has passed for the last week or two where someone hasn’t mentioned them, or a picture hasn’t popped up somewhere, or someone hasn’t given us a Naga Buddha amulet.

Nagaland is calling hard, but alas, we must not hurry ourselves.

In the modern day with Facebook and Twitter, everything seems to go faster and faster. But life doesn’t. Life goes at it’s own speed and it does not bend to anyones will. We so want to leave Thailand already, and everybody else wants us to also, but life has different plans it seems. We must respect it.

Here are todays gifts from people we met and talked to.

Buddha protected by 7 Nagas. We were given 2, one each
Photo: Pyry Kääriä

 

Buddha with a protection prayer on the back given to Juho
Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Pyry Kääriä

Enlightened Buddha given to Pyry
Photo: Pyry Kääriä

As well as all the niceness from the Mae Moei people, one really good thing has happened. Our tuk tuk man, Mr. Pong, may have redeemed himself and made himself one of our best assets. He managed to help get the audience with the Myanmar Embassy, and he is trying his hardest to use all of his contacts to speed up the process so we can leave.

But alas, he is only human, like all of us. We can only do our best and nothing more, though I must say, that so far what I know of the Myanmar people, they really do their best. Especially when it comes to Songkran. Most of them seem to have eyes that penetrate the soul, and they party like there’s no tomorrow, for two weeks.

We crossed the border yesterday, again, and I have to say that the old saying, ‘third time is the charm’, should be changed to, ‘first time is the charm’, so that we wouldn’t have to do everything three times. We got through no problem, but our tugboat on wheels didn’t.

The letter from the Embassy had not made it to the central government of Myanmar before Songkran, and there, the party is just too good for anyone to answer phones, so we must wait ’till the party ends.

We used our chance while in Myanmar and spent some time partying with the Myawaddyans. After getting soaked within the first ten steps we went to find some food by the river. The locals were summersaulting into the river so we decided to join them. Very nice people with very potent self made drinks.

 

Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Juho Sarno

 

 

Then we came back towards immigration only to be stopped by a big group of ecstatic youngsters dancing like hell and squirting water every which way. By this time the alcohol had hit, and jumping around looked like fun, so we joined in and had a blast.

 

 

Video Screenshot, Tuk Tuk Travellers

Video Screenshot, Tuk Tuk Travellers

 

Not knowing if it was 5 o’clock already we went back to immigration just incase. The border closes at 5 and we were told to return before that. We found Myanmar Immigration partying also, so we spent our last hour dancing and drinking in no-mans land with them.

 

Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Juho Sarno

Myanmar has taken our hearts already.

We left with huge smiles on our faces and this time, we got a phone number for one of the Immigration guys so we can call him, and make sure, that next time we will definitely get through.

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Breaking it in

1038 Km done,

and it still feels good.

Everyday it seems that I fall in love with our Tuk Tuk more and more. It is simply the best motorised road vehicle that has ever been designed, and it’s also the first motorised vehicle that I own.

We wrote in one of the first blogs a quote that came from someplace that I cannot remember anymore, but it went more or less like this.

The Tuk Tuk is the worst vehicle ever made, because it has all the bad sides of everything. It gives no shelter or protection like a car, and it cannot weave through traffic like a motorbike. Oh yeah, and it tips over really easily.

They were wrong, and so wrong they were. Based on this paragraph, I think the author has never driven a Tuk Tuk before because they only dwell on theory, not practice.

After a few days of driving around Thailand, I can give you a more detailed, practical approach to what the tuk tuk is. So let me rephrase the earlier paragraph into what I think is more suitable for the King’s Wagon.

The Tuk Tuk is the best vehicle ever made, because it has the best sides of all other vehicles, and even more.

With the Tuk Tuk the legs do not need to be placed on the ground when stopping, unlike a motorbike, and it is way more agile than any car on the market today, because there is only one front wheel.

Then I would continue,

The tuk tuk is more like a boat with wheels, rather than a car or a motorcycle, because it allows passengers to move about, to stretch the legs, or if needed, even to climb about on the outside. Click here to see it in action.

The Tuk Tuk is designed so that things can be hung from the roof, and they are easily accessible when needed. This cannot be done in a car, and the motorbike doesn’t even have a roof.

The Tuk Tuk is the only vehicle that a Hammock can be tied to, on the inside as well as the outside.

Unlike any other road vehicle, the Tuk Tuk allows the driver to change position while driving, perhaps into a lotus position, or even into a squatting position, because the throttle is operated by the right hand (or sometimes the left if you like to change).

The Tuk Tuk gives you the same feeling of freedom as the motorcycle, because there are no barriers between onboard people and mother nature.

Unlike modern cars, the Tuk Tuk has no computer chips, so the driver has full control of the vehicle at all times. Because of this, if a problem arises, it can be fixed at any local moped shop, or even by the driver themselves. No authorised, specialised, monopolised, money-vacuum garages are needed. Only a mind that has the capability of thinking on its own, and has a little logic in it.

The Tuk Tuk also makes everyone that drives past raise their thumb and cheeks towards the sky, and this makes all the people within the Tuk Tuk smile and happy.

I understand that they couldn’t write all of this into the article, because it’s a little bit longer, but at least they could have been truthful about what the Tuk Tuk really is. I believe the tuk tuk is the most versatile of all vehicles because of all of the above, and last but not least,

The Tuk Tuk is the only vehicle that can easily be modified into a transportable gastro-machine, and drive halfway across the globe to fulfil a crazy dream of making the world a better place.

Photo: Juho Sarno

Photo: Juho Sarno

Two one way tickets to Bangkok, please.

Three weeks to departure.

Katse kaukaisuuteen

Photo: Vanessa Riki

In March 2013 we decided that the time was ripe to make this madcap adventure-dream come true. Five years the idea of driving a tuk tuk from Bangkok to Helsinki had been brewing. Pyry lived in Bangkok for his teenage years and Juho had just come back from there. Both of us found ourselves in circus school and began to understand the importance of well-being and a healthy diet.

We had began to wonder how it was possible that so many restaurants make such bad food for such an outrageous price. Good food is food made with love, not from the desire to make money from people’s necessity to eat. Then the lightbulb sparked.

What if we actually do go to Bangkok and buy the tuk tuk? We could tune it up into a lean mean street cooking machine and drive it to Finland. Then we can start our own street food stall and make food with love for a reasonable price! And to fund the whole thing we can film the adventure into a TV-series and sell it all around the world!!!

So now we are here. There might be easier dreams to follow, but this one is ours. Dreams are rarely realised because they are not taken seriously. Reality is a scary place and many think their dreams are not important enough, or worth the effort to fight for their existence. This dream is important to us. This is our way to share some goodness around.

After a little trepidation we decided to get up and do something about it. We went to the tavern, ordered a few beers and stuck our heads together. How can two broke circus artists get a tuk tuk all the way to Finland?

Of course this scared the hell out of us! People naturally avoid responsibility because of fear of failure. Both of us learned from circus that failure is actually the first step towards success. Fear of failure leads to evasion of responsibility, but when you carry responsibility for your own life, you need not carry anything else. Everything is in our own hands.

We are confident that every experience along our adventure can be handled, every setback will be taken as a new possibility, and everything unexpected will be enjoyed along the way. It’s up to us to make it what it is. A lot of responsibility, a lot of freedom.

This was the first big realisation moment. Understanding that if we have the will, we’ll find the way. No one else is going to make this happen for us. Our dreams and our lives are in our own hands.

Okay, so we drive the tuk tuk to Finland and make it into a TV-series, simple as that. Eight months to learn all that needs to be learned and do all that needs to be done. Except we didn’t know what we needed to learn or do.

So we wrote a couple of emails about the concept to production companies to see if they would be interested. Not one replied, and no wonder. We were standing on a solid dream that no one else could see.

We felt that if we wait too long, this will never happen. So we started our own production company and got our second realisation. We agreed never to wait for something to happen, but instead, we would always come up with ways to make the tuk tuk dream take shape. As a consequence, we have done almost everything ​​possible by ourself but we have also learned an unimaginable amount of thing in the process.

The next step forward was finance. It was hopeless to apply for a bank loan or attract sponsors. With nothing to show we were going in circles. Then it happened. A whale shark snatched and told Juho about crowdfunding. Straight away it felt like our own thing. It would give us start-up capital, it would work as advertising, we’d get something to show the sponsors and distributors and it would give many people the opportunity to be involved. Above all, it will make us to do instead of wait.

The third awakening. We have received a tremendous amount of support and help from friends and strangers. We have learned to ask for help and we have learned to accept help. It feels like we are doing the right thing at the right time and it’s as if we are working together as a team. A team full of friends, relatives and strangers. This has already been an inspiration to many people, including ourselves, and it will be in the future as well.

Three weeks before departure. We have been working hard for 8 months. We have sponsors and partners and distribution to four countries (as soon as we learn to write a Distribution Agreement). We still have our heads in the clouds, but we have grown our legs to the ground. We have done all that we can, as well as we can and the tuk tuk is speeding forward. There’s a vast emptiness ahead. We have planned and prepared all that we can, but an adventure is always an adventure. Emptiness makes everything possible.

Welcome aboard,

TTBoys