Hadi started his journey on April 24, on his kapcai, which some mocked as only fit to ride to the market; without any sponsors, documents or papers endorsing his venture that would open doors along the way. He did it on his own and arrived on Oct 24 in London. The trained chef, aeronautical engineer-turned-humanitarian worker, even packed in some voluntary humanitarian work to help flood victims in Pakistan.
The ride from Kuala Lumpur took him across 22 countries where he survived social unrest in Bangkok and Nepal, pickpockets and petty criminals in India, and corrupt border officials along the way. Thus, a cup of morning coffee with Malaysian High Commissioner Datuk Zakaria Sulong, complete with banana fritters and curry puffs, a day after his arrival, was very much appreciated.
“This is truly Malaysia boleh,” said Zakaria, who, along with his heads of department, admired Lil G, parked outside the prestigious address in Belgrave Square that houses the Malaysian High Commission.
“It makes it all the more meaningful that you have done it all by yourself, without any help from others, and at the same time, you gave your time to help others along the way,” added Zakaria.
“It is a challenge for me and I think anything is achievable,” Hadi said, reflecting on the moment, some months ago, when he was riding in a blinding snowstorm, 5,486m above sea level in Baluchistan, a mountainous region which includes southeastern Iran, western Pakistan and southwestern Afghanistan.
He remembered the scenic village bordering India and Tibet that had two mosques welcoming him with the Azan. It was the village in Leh that was totally wiped out a month later during the floods.
He recalled the hospitality and generosity of the Pakistanis who wouldn’t allow him to move without an offer of a chai (tea) every few kilometres and the continuous and sometimes tedious bureaucratic formality of filling in forms and books at every border control.
Hadi had carefully documented his journey in his blog “iamalaysian.com” and has a lot of following from motorbike enthusiasts and well-wishers. Armed with a small video camera attached to his bike, a weatherproof SLR, a compact camera, one SLR with big lens and one compact waterproof camera, he shares videoclips of his journey with his readers.
After being with Lil G almost every moment of his six months on the road, now it’s time to part company.
“Most of the time, Lil G is not far from me. If I slept in a tent, she is by my side. Now I must find a way and the money to transport her back,” said Hadi, who had been receiving Malaysian hospitality in London. He’s staying at the Mara apartments and has been enjoying Malaysian meals with newfound friends. His mother now awaits his return before Hari Raya Aidiladha on Nov 17.