Posted: July 20, 2014 in Adventure

2014-07-16 08.51.22

Bali is to the Australians what Key West is to the Americans.  Run over by tourists, commercialized and set up for everyone looking to make a quick buck.  The main beneficiaries of this commercialization are the big corporations that have the same outlets and stores that they have opened in Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Bali.  The locals have been left to scrape the bottom while the tourist hordes descend upon the Batik shops, wood carving shops and the jewelry makers shops like there is no tomorrow.  Just when one starts to enjoy a nice scenery, a bus load of tourists arrives and messes up the scene.  This is not what I had in mind when I wanted to visit Bali….frankly, I am a little disappointed.

2014-07-16 08.35.59 HDR 2014-07-16 08.35.49 HDR











Upon arrival, our handlers brought us to the B&B where we were going to stay.  Slightly off the beaten path, quiet and serene surroundings.  After we settled in our room, we decided to go out for dinner.  With our recent track record with food borne illness we decided to find a place to eat that we could trust.   Off we went in search, but did not have to go far.  We found this Italia restaurant that looked good and they had a live band playing.  We decided to park ourselves there and ordered our favorite meals, with Haris that was Pizza, more so since he had to had any ever since he got sick.  I also decided to play it safe and ordered some grilled chicken breast.  While we were eating, the band asked the diners if anyone had a special request; Haris feeling homesick requested Hotel California, they obliged and were not bad.  After dinner we went for a stroll and stopped at one of the few hundred tour guides.  We were able to hire a private taxi for quite a reasonable amount for the next day. The next day our tour guide and his driver arrived at the appointed time and we were ready as well.  After a brief discussion about how the day was going to be planned, we set out on our tour of Bali.  Our first stop, along with hundreds of other tourists, was the Batik shop.  We were given a tour of the process needed to develop the Batik designs, which turned out to be quite labor intensive.  There was also a show room right next to it where the tourists were encouraged to spend some money and buy souvenirs for their loved ones.  We played our part and bought a few items for our near and dear ones.  Our next stop was the art center where we saw how the Bali art was produced.  Haris decided to buy a souvenir for home and since it did not weigh much, I agreed.  From there we made our way to the wood carving district.  The teak, mahogany and hibiscus carvings were very nice, but their prices had been appropriately elevated for the Australian tourists.  Haris and I did not want any items with any significant weight as we still had a little bit of Indian and a whole lot of Pacific Ocean to cross.  Our need for fuel was far greater than a wood carving, so we passed and left.  We also found out that Australia does not allow any food items and items made out of wood to be brought in.  We decided to press on and decided to visit the Volcano, but along the way was something quite interesting as it was made to order for the Australian tourists.  It was the Luwak coffee.  This contraption was first grown as the Bali Coffee and then there is this exotic cat like animal that eats the coffee bean, but it only eats the ripe red shell and swallows the rest of the coffee bean, which the goes thru some chemical transformation and is then excreted out by the animal.  Lots of Balinese pickers scour the hill sides looking for this excrement.  It is then brought in and washed in hot water, cleaned out and then roasted on a wok.  Once roasted, this is ground into powdered coffee and is the most expensive coffee they sell in these farms.  All tourists make is a mission in their life to actually drink this coffee.  At these coffee farms they also sold other more normal kinds of coffees and teas, that we decided to buy and bring back in small quantities.  The volcano park turned out to be more of the same with hordes of tourists and locals trying to sell trinkets that we declined to buy.  Our tour guide wanted us to visit one of the temples next, but we requested a visit to the monkey temple, which is monkey sanctuary.  These are smaller sized monkeys, not the larger kind that may look like chimps.  Haris tried to get cute and take a selfie with one of them, but that guy was not amused and he attacked Haris, but could only grab  his shirt.  I jumped in towards the monkey and Haris was able to pull away from it.  Monkey’s have a sacred spot in the Hindu mythology and Bali being 95% hindu, this was probably a testament to them being sacred.

At this point Haris and I decided to call it a day and come back to see the sunset from across the street from our hotel.  As we got to the beach, apart from more tourists, side of the sky where the sun was going to set was all clouded up.  So, we took some touristy pictures and decided to catch an early dinner as we had to depart for Darwin Australia the next morning over the Indian Ocean.  Playing it rather safe, we both unanimously voted for the same place we had dinner the night before.  We grabbed a quick dinner and came back to our hotel room to prepare for our departure from Bali.  All night long the drunk Australians kept noisily coming back to their hotel rooms until it was time for us to get up and get going.  Our handling agent arrived right on time and took us back to the Bali airport.  We paid our bills, filed our flight plan and were ready to go. On reflection, Bali ended up  being way below our expectations.  One thing that stood out in Malaysia and Indonesia was the level of corruption.  We heard a lot of  people complaining about corruption in Malaysia, but there was also a lot of development.  In Indonesia, however, the level of corruption was much higher as our tour guide had to grease the plams twice during the day while we were being toured around.  There did not seem to be a lot of development done at the state level as it was in Malaysia…

  1. Faisal Iqbal says:

    I have become a huge fan of Mr. Suleman after visiting this blog recently.

    reading this blog

    All of his preparation was immaculate.

    I have reached a conclusion that 30 days is a very short time

    to complete the mission. It should have been more like 45 days. They should have

    slowed down a bit. They were moving very fast for their first time circumnavigation.

    It should be more like 44 days just like this other 19 year old teenager did in similar

    Beechcraft aircraft.

    I also think they should have canceled the trip at some point in the journey in order to

    avoid the disaster.

    If you read the blog carefully you will notice there were fuel pump issues developing at

    altitudes Above 15,000 feet on June 10th, and also the same fuel pumpt issues developing

    when they went to 21,000 feet on june 25th. At those points they should have HALTED.

    You might also notice delayed jump suits. And lost keys as signals from the Universe as

    Something is not right here. Instead of continuing they should have slowed down or

    canceled the entire expedition altogether.

  2. Usman Sadiq (Tipu) says:

    I knew Babar when we were in our teens in Islamabad. His flight around the globe was of special interest for me, being an ex-flyer. I followed his endeavour very keenly from his preparation days to the day the tragedy struck. I was deeply saddened and was wondering what to write when I got a mail from someone in my family who had seen me constantly discuss & follow the flight on both the tracking sites….the mail paid rich tribute to their bravery & endeavour. I would like to reproduce this mail for all of us who followed this great cause…


    I didn’t really get a chance to speak to you after hearing the sad news of Babar and Haris’s accident. I know that you were following it very closely and more than most people, saw and felt the pleasure in their grand, ambitious, daring and brave endeavor.

    As an ex-flyer, I also understand that you realised the challenge and high risk of their undertaking. If one is to fulfil their life’s passion, this was certainly one of the ways for a pilot to fulfil theirs. The flight circumventing the earth has been an accolade that has daunted flyers since man started flying. An impressive feat almost all can’t conceive, let alone the rare few who attempt it.

    Also, the fact that this was personal to you in more ways than one, that you have known him since when you were young and that you went to receive, meet and spend time with him and Haris when they arrived in Karachi recently.

    It is sad how their flight around the world ended and we grieve for the demise of two great champions; It is also a day to celebrate these two heavyweights of Pakistani aviation for their passion, bravery and will to live life to its fullest. People like Steve Irwin and Amelia Earhart come straight to mind, for having perished doing what they loved and being remembered for it. Girtay hain shahsawaar hee maindan-e-jung mein, woh tifl kiya girain jo guthnoon kaye bal chalain.

    The sadness for friends and family left behind is undoubtedly immense, not nearly close to express in words. However, Babar and Haris have flown into our hearts and into the ranks of the elite few who have attempted this inspiring and audacious mission, for this I salute them!

    I am sorry for your loss, I can safely say that it was a pleasure flying with them, albeit vicariously!


  3. Waqar Muhammad says:

    A daring person, always took life as a challenge, I remember our last meeting in Islamabad, and he was so proud of his son……….rest in peace my friend

  4. Zahid Habib says:

    I saw the video clip of thier landing in Karachi about a week ago o youtube and now to find out about this tragidy is realy heart breaking. My sinciere condolance to thier family and will pray for them to somehow overcome this tragic loss of a very young life!

  5. Munir Haqqi says:

    Babar who I have known for many years is simply an extraordinary man and with an extraordinary life filled with extraordinary events. He is the one person I would not hesitate to go to for advice on the most complex issues and would always get back a golden advice which used to be pragmatic and fair. What else can one wish to be? I was always amazed by his positive energy, ambition and resolve “to boldly go where they had not gone before”. Even though his mission was excessively risky I salute him for pursuing it with a humanitarian goal and with resolve all the way to the last few legs. May God the Beneficent the Merciful grant him a miraculous return into this world or bless him in the Next. Either way he shall continue to inspire many others to always try to break all frontiers for humanitarian motives and to boldly take the right path leading to the Paradises where no one has ever been before.

  6. Imran says:

    I have been a regular reader of the blog for month of so & really enjoyed it. I felt as if I was flying with these guys. It was truly heart shattering when saw the news item. May Allah rest their souls in peace and grant patience to their family & friends.

  7. Igor R. says:

    Just learned about your adventure and heard about the tragic accident, my condolences for the son, and hope the father is alive. Thank you for being an inspiration.

  8. Rhonda says:

    I am saddened to hear of the tragic accident. Truly brave and honorable young man to raise money for less fortunate. We need more Haris in the world. May your family find peace and comfort during thos great time of loss and praying for safe return of father.

  9. Reverie says:

    Our sincere condolences to the family and friends…

  10. Mohammad Rashid says:

    If tears could build a stairway,
    And memories a lane,
    I’d walk right up to heaven
    And bring you home again.

  11. Niemi says:

    It’s just too sad to know about the tragedy. My deepest condolence to the family. Haris your ambitions truly brought back many memories through the years i had with my dad. He had the same vision and thoughts to do the extraordinary. Sometimes dreams are bought alive and beautiful and at times it halts. Rest in Peace Haris and Babar. You will not be forgotten.

  12. Byron says:

    I just heard your story on the bbc world service and so sorry to hear the news. My condolences to your family. I rarely give to charity but in honor of your sacrifice I will donate to citizens foundation. Thank you for your service.

  13. Salman Ahmed says:

    I am private pilot myself and had been following father/son duo’s journey around the world with great interest both in Pakistani,International and social media since last month or so and now after hearing this tragic news of their crash, I am literally devastated and it feels like I have lost two of my own family members,it was even more saddening that they were in their last leg of journey . Nevertheless they were flying for a noble cause,I salute them and pray for them from bottom of my heart,may god give courage & strength to their immediate family in this difficult time of grief .

  14. Tim Fino says:

    Sincere condolences to the family and friends. I have been planning my round the world trip for next year and will be using a lot of the same route. I thank them for documenting everything so well – their mission will live one – and be the guidance to many other pilots of what to bring and potential unknown unknowns.

    May you rest in peace

  15. Mary says:

    Thoughts and prayers to this family. I hope they find peace in knowing their father, son, nephew, brother were having the time of their lives and for a great cause. RIP dear ones.

  16. Ruth in Charlotte says:

    So sad reading this blog and knowing what has happened. You and your son had a wonderful experience and are with each other for all time, now.

  17. Amamd says:

    Sorry to hear that. Rest in Peace.

  18. Sarah says:

    Very sad to hear about there crash….

  19. Waqar (Vicky) says:

    Both Capt Haris (17 Trs) and my 1970s friend from Islamabad brave pilots.
    Still in shock about tragic loss of boy Haris (our heartfelt condolences to all his family).
    Praying for a miracle that babar is recovered alive.

  20. Jon says:

    Removing the link… Hi Jon, An apology to anyone who feels that they are helping things by posting news reports from around the world. These are usually full of speculation and even wrong information. We intend to keep this page for your condolences and memories and leave each person to search for news reports by the worlds media if they wish. Correct information will be posted at the appropriate time.

  21. Waqar Muhammad says:

    hmmmmm……………… Bali is out of my travel plan

  22. Faiyaz Syed says:

    No matter what……. Haris is always in the scene. This time with little Bander (monkey).

  23. Bradford Rodgers says:

    Thank you for the update and advice on Bali. Glad to hear you are safe and sound!

  24. Asghar Shah says:

    I certainly enjoy the narratives of your and Haris’s journey , very well written ! these certainly remind me of the book ” Flight of Passage” by Rinker Buck, abt the journey of two young brothers bonding to gather and their father. the brothers flew across america in a ricketly small piper cub that they had restored . I hope you and Harris do write a book about this Journey , ! I am pretty sure it will be well received in the aviation circles and the general public ! cheers !

    • Asghar Shah says:

      Tragic Allah(SWT) grant them Maghfarat , they undertook this journey for the cause of education, my deepest condolences to the Suleman family during this month of Ramadan let us all remember them in our Prayers

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