A newsletter for all the ex Overlanders

Izmir (Smyrna)- Turkey 1973

Konak Square - Izmir 1973


The wife of Cinyras, King of Cyprus, foolishly claimed that her daughter, Smyrna, was more beautiful than Aphrodite herself. This so enraged the goddess that she made Smyrna fall in love with her own father and one night Smyrna's nurse having made the king drunk, she climbed into his bed. When he finally awoke from his drunken slumber, the king drew his sword and drove his daughter from the palace, pursuing her into the countryside.Just as he was about to overtake her and kill her with his sword, Aphrodite took pity on the girl and turned her into a myrrh tree.
The remains of the earliest city layer are contemporary with the Troy II civilization. This settlement was known as Smurna, written as Smyrna in ancient Greek.In the 11th century B.C. the coastal city of Smyrna was inhabited by Ionians and Aeolians.

More info at http://www.turkeyinphotos.com/izmir.htm

Just a short stop on the overland, but a great place for cafes and good food. On arrival the passengers would all head into town to visit the sites of the city, while the crew found a water front cafe, drank lots of coffee and watched the local girls go by. This picture above was taken about 34 years ago, today its hard to recognise.

The view from Google earth shows lots of land has been reclaimed from the sea and the tower surrounded by grass above is now further inland and surrounded by concrete with radiating lines (center of picture). Just a little further in and left you can see the small mosque, which now seems to be surrounded by white paving.

Breakdown in Iran

In my travel log I tell the story of a breakdown in Zahedan in eastern Iran. We had a major engine failure and had to wait for a new crankshaft to be sent from London. When it arrived Fred and I went to the customs post at Zahedan airport to pick up the parts, only to be given the run around, as you do. One of the problems was that as this was not a border post, they were not used to processing anything to do with motor vehicles. If and when we got the spare parts, the only way we could avoid paying duty was to re-export them when leaving the country.
To make sure we did, they would enter them in my passport so the border guards would ask to see the old parts ensuring they were being taken out of the country. When entering or leaving with a vehicle, they put big stamp in your passport that shows a car, thereby alerting the guards to the fact that you have a car with you. The problem at Zahedan was they didn't have the car stamp, solution - draw a car in the passport!
Sounds easy enough, well a young guy spent 15 minutes drawing in my passport, when he showed it to the other guards they all fell about laughing. It appeared to be so funny they took the passport to every department in customs, while I watched it being snatched from hand to hand and grown men doubling up with laughter.
It was about this time the magazine with the naked women reared its head, apparently this wasn't so funny.

Read the full story here

Round trip to Sri Lanka

Click here for a full size poster

What do you do when spending winter in Nepal? go for a little jolly. Norm was not impressed about my trip to South India and in hindsight there was a risk something could go wrong leaving him a bus short for the spring departures. Still all went of well and according to my old trip accounts, I made a profit of 437 pounds ($700US) which balanced out what Norm owed me in wages, so it was a win win. It is hard to belive you could go on an 8 week trip around India for just 45 pounds. That wouldn't pay for a good night out these days. I think we ended up with about 25 passengers, more than I had planned. An Intertrek driver Bob Hughes came with us and helped out with the driving, he proved to be quite a character and delighted in shocking the ladies with his course humor. He would request a loo stop by asking if I could stop as he needed to "Unpack his Trunk". Last I heard of Bob he was in Perth.

I did intend to take the bus over on the ferry from Rameswaram to Talaimannar on the northern tip of Sri Lanka, but changed my mind when I saw how it would be loaded aboard. The sea is very shallow at this point so any vehicles are taken out on a pontoon boat to the ship, which is anchored offshore. They then use a steam winch to lift them off the pontoon and over the side of the ship some 40 feet above. All this is done while the pontoon bobs up and down like a cork, banging against the ships side at regular intervals. I had visions of ringing Norm with a quote from the Goon Show "sorry about your bus Norm - its fallen in the water".

Contact from Nick Nicholls

Hi Derek.

Which Derek are you ?there were so many! My Name is Nick Nichols. (ex Paddy Garrow Fisher, And Penn Overland. 1965-1976  And still alive to tell the story. Hope you get this.  I am living in Canberra now. other drivers out here are   Geoff Gravett  - Mt Eliza      Gordon Rew -  Geelong
Best regards Nick

Contact from Dave Smith - Halesworth Suffolk

Thanks Derek - just found your site: I was Hughes Overland/Intertrek then onto Pennworld.  I'll be in touch with some news about things soon.  Meanwhile newsletter appreciated - really interesting - first met Norm in probably 70 or 71 asleep under his bus with his alsatian - says it all!

Contact from Jon Vincent

Hi Derek,

I uncovered your web the other day and it sure brought back memories....I started with Frontier in the early '70s and, after they went broke (whilst I was half-way across Africa, en route to Nairobi..!) I joined Hughes Overland/Intertrek/Asiaman and did a bunch of tours to Kathmandu,. I was "lent" to Siafu to run one of their trips from Nairobi to UK....but they went under and we spent a wonderful month visiting every game park in Kenya whilst waiting for a bailout from IATA...then I flew home and went out to South America where I spent about 4 years running the Rio/Bogota/Rio trips for Hughes/Treasure Tours........When they finally folded (by now I was getting pretty used to this..!!) I flew to US and joined Trekamerica for a couple of years..........Now retired and running a small horse farm in Florida.  Still in contact with quite a few of the drivers from the old days.....hope to have a re-union one of these days, if we can ever manage it......Would love to hear from any of the "punters" that endured my "leadership" all those years ago.......I've got some pics from South America, but only a few from my India and Africa trips..........
Look forward to hearing from ya'......
Jon Vincent

Check out the "Remember This" post in the forum - Dave Tapsell has put up some good pictures, I like the early views of Singpore. Having spent a bit of time in Singapore lately it is hard to belive how much it has changed in the last 40 years. I remember arriving there with long hair (hard to belive these days) and having my passport stamped "SHIT" (suspected hippie in transit), who says the Singaporeans don't have a sence of humor!

If you have any stories or pictures related to the Overland I would love to get a copy. Lists of passengers or just the ones you can remember would be a great addition to this project. To view back issues of this newsletter use this LINK. You can post anything to the Forum if you prefer, all info would be greatly received.

If you would like to be removed from this newsletter please send an email to remove@indiaoverland.biz. Make sure you ask me to remove the email address that it was sent to not one it is redirect to, thanks.

This news letter is produced by Derek Amey - Gold Coast Australia.