Buenos Aires, Tuesday, 9 April 2013 to Thursday, 11 April 2013,Day 280 to Day 282

Ready for Daisy last run in South America being seen of by Javier of Dakarmotos

After a late and eventual night needed to get the bike to the airport by 10.30 and the traffic here is pretty horrendous so left at about 9.30 with clear instructions from Sandra on the route and the process I needed to follow to get Daisy back home. Its only about 35km to the airport so I had given myself an hour but as I pulled onto the ring road wall to wall traffic and as mentioned before on this blog with my panniers on very difficult to split traffic and I was also a little bit nervous and did want to take any risks as it would be very embarrassing to come a cropper after 281 days and 65,000km on the road so settle in trying to enjoy my final run on Daisy crawling along at a snails pace to the airport.

I was late but no problem met up with Eliza Massy who was also shipping her bike Cape Town South Africa and we waited for Franco the agent who was going to guide us through the process.

First through security to the Export shed then prepping the bike which meant sorting luggage, disconnecting the battery, removing sticky out bits such as mirrors, panniers, top box and screen (Broke this of last night) and letting some air out of the tyres.

Bike then strapped to a palette and sent of to be x rayed and sniffed by the sniffer dogs and then back to us to be shrink wrapped and that was it. This had taken a couple of hours was expecting a lot longer but all done had a good laugh with the blokes working there and Eliza whilst doing so time had flown by.

Bye Daisy safe trip and I will see you in Amsterdam

First strapped to the pallet then off to be x rayed

Then shrink wrapped not sure that Daisy is that much of a plastic fetish!

Shown how to get back to Buenos Aires on the local workers bus by Franco where we where dropped of in the center. Said Tata to Eliza will meet up with her to finish up the exportation tomorrow grabbed some lunch and had a nice picnic on the square in front of the pink palace and it was dawning on me that I was alone my companion for last year was strapped up on her way to Amsterdam via London and this was nearly at the end of my trip! Gulp pull yourself together big boys do not cry but it was quite sad an end of an era.

Made my way back slowly to Dakar Motors checking out loads of exchange places looking for the best deal on changing my USD to ARS on the blue market but none of them offering black market rates ooops this could turn out to be expensive. At Dakar an Australian couple had joined us at the hostel Adam and Mackenzie http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/AdKenz/ so another pleasant evening at DakarMotos chatting and sharing a nice Vietnamese meal that Hoa had prepared as a thank you for last night.

Good times good food and company at DakarMotors

Next day I had got an address of a money exchange from Alex and Andrea so was pinning my hopes on that I could change my dollars at a decent rate so headed straight there. Extremely nervous as I walking around Buenos Aires with about USD 2,500.00 in cash in my pocket so was expecting to be mugged at any moment as it was written all over me that this bloke is the a walking cash machine mug him. Made my way to the address I had not sure I went to the right place but did find a place that was offering 8.1 ARS per US compared with the official rate of 5.14 ARS per USD so result there changed 950 USD in ARS with a saving for me of about 500 USD on the exchange rate yes result so I had about 11,000 ARS all in 100 ARS bills next stop to Navicon office to pay for Daisy shipping and meet up with again with Eliza. Got the paperwork and then needed to go next door to the bank to pay and get a receipt for the payment. This took forever but Eliza was good company even though she was a bit hung over still :-)

So the finances sorted and very relieved that I was no longer carrying that much cash on me anymore back to Navicon to get the Master Airway Bill. Turned out they had screwed up with the shipping mixing my paperwork with of Doran who also shipping tomorrow and he a had a special request around timing that cost a bit more for immediate shipping me I had no urgent timelines so took a while to sort this out and many printing and reprinting of the MAWB as there where loads of other mistakes on it such as passport number and other details so caution always check the documentation.

So that Daisy sorted hope she gets there okay and I had a couple of days left before I to was the plane. I was full of good intentions and list of things to do in Buenos Aires but at the same time I was totally exhausted and my energy levels at all time low so made my way back to DakarMotos and did not do much more than that as the weather was atrocious and was happy enough just doing very little and just hanging around DakarMotos chatting and relaxing with the folks there.

Colonia Del Sacramento to Buenos Aires, Monday, 8 April 2013, Day 279

Long way down!

Margaret Thatcher dead said the immigration officer with a huge grin on his face and a huge smile no Buenos Dias or other courtesies or pleasantries that you usually get when going through customs. As soon as he knew I was British all he wanted to talk about was the fact that the iron lady had past away and what excellent news that was. This may be a good thing for the Anglo Argentinian relationship and maybe a lot of the anti British sentiment may be reduce because of this event but I personally took no pleasure on the gloating and the joy that this gentlemen had on the demise of a former prime minister (human being) or the subsequent outpouring of ding dong the witch is dead which was to fill the social media for the coming weeks as I personally have an admiration for Maggie and what she achieved this was never popular or a cool position to have not that I agreed with everything that she did as like us all she made loads of mistakes as well but least you knew her position was on an issue and I am old fashion you may not agree with everybody’s point of view that may differs from your own but you should respect it.

Due to this historic event my entrance back into Argentina was easy and straight forward but that could also be due to the fact that this was the 5th time I was coming into Argentina so knew the process pretty well by now.

Left the hostel at about 9 with yet another run at the cashpoint and then to the money exchange to maximise the amount of cash USD I had which I would need to pay for Daisy getting home then headed to the docks to catch the boat to Buenos Aires. Had some empanada for breakfast whilst waiting to be boarded and then onto the boat. Easy and pleasant journey met up with an Israeli biker Doron http://doronsvoyage.wordpress.com who was also heading for Dakar Motors http://www.dakarmotos.com

Arrived back at Dakar Motors at about 1pm been there before so was like coming home or was nice to be back in familiar places with friendly folk who I already knew. Daisy needed to be at the airport in the morning so first order of business was getting the paperwork started and the first payment of USD 100 for Sandra Broker fee so of to the photocopy shop for the relevant copies and filling the paperwork and a trip to the local supermarket to get some dinner in and the rest of the evening sorting my kit out and prepping Daisy for her big trip back to the Netherlands. Dumping loads which I do find difficult as a hoarder and a tight arse but my sleeping bag I have had for 20 years so I guess that is due for replacement and my tent which still had some miles in it but was looking a bit tired and needed some TLC so not worth lugging this kit back to NL only to chuck this kit away there maybe someone can make use of this. Whilst going through my stuff I still could bring myself to chuck certain t-shirt and bits of kit away even though threadbare and minging I get very attached to this stuff. One of my panniers had been leaking so some kit had got a nice bit of mould on it so that was slightly easier to part with. Other bits and pieces I had carried for 65,000km and I had never used or worn so those extra hiking boots had a grand trip of the Americas without ever seeing daylight I most confess I do carry to much kit but would I change anything well probably not as I would rather have to much and not use it than to little and find I need it and if there room in the panniers well its gets filled.

Did a dry run of striping down Daisy ready to be transported on the plane so that is taking the mirrors; front screen and GPS mount of. Glad I did as I could not get the screen of because way back in June 2012 in Canada it had come loose so Philly being the mechanical genius with his tool kit of duct tape, zip ties and Loctite had made sure that the screen would never ever come loose again and had gone to town on the 4 screws holding the screen on and there was no way these where coming loose so in the end I had to break the screen to get it off. It was already cracked in two places where I had over tightened the screws. So anyone in the Netherlands got a spare screen for Daisy as she looks rather naked without it I can have please contact me :-)

Fortunately that evening Javier was there so had some muscles to break the screen and to concur that it was the only way that screen was coming of without taking the whole front end to pieces and it was already buggered as mentioned earlier and it was also 12 pm at night and was heading to airport at 9 the next morning.

The reason Javier was there was we where expecting an American couple  and Hoa http://whyweroam.wordpress.com who had crashed there bike 2 days earlier at Rada Tilly way down South In Argentina and straight after the crash had put the bike on a back of lorry and had been traveling North since then still covered in blood and dirt from the crash. They arrived at about midnight Hoa had a mashed foot and Suma one hand in bandage (turned out later to be broken) and the bike a huge GS BMW on the back of huge truck and the only way to get it of the back of the truck was with good old fashion muscle power. Javier called a mate of his Carlos and there was me and the driver of the lorry and Doron who kept insisting that it was impossible to get the bike of the lorry with just us and Javier telling him to shut the f**k up as this was not the first time he done this :-) Well we did manage to get the bike off the lorry but I also had my doubts, as did my poor back.

Turned out to be a long day and late night after we sorted out Suma and Hoa changed their bandages fed them and got them settled in never a dull moment at Dakar Motors :-)

 

 

Montevideo to Colonia Del Sacramento, Saturday, 6 April 2013 to Sunday, 7 April 2013, Day 277 to Day 278

Today is my last reasonable long trip on Daisy on this side of the world. I am quite sad about this. A short run of 180km to Colonia Del Sacramento, unfortunately for the final run pretty dull. Was looking forward to Colonia as usual one of those places that had been hyped up all the tourist blurb so lets just say nice enough place but nothing like its billing I should be used to that by now but it does irritate me a little bit. Found a new hostel that had parking and went for a wander on what seems to be the never-ending search of a cash point that gave out dollars no joy so found a place with a reasonable rate to exchange UYE to USD so slowly building up the cash I need in Buenos Aires for shipping Daisy.

Spent the rest of the day walking round the town which was pretty small but pretty enough, nice sunset and then headed for a shopping mall on the outskirts of town hoping they would have a food court for some cheap and nice food for my dinner but turned out to be tiny and just a supermarket so brought a slice of meat pie and a bottle of pop so that is dinner sorted and back to the hostel

No breakfast at this hostel so I had a sleep in and out and about looking for somewhere nice to have breakfast and again looking for cashpoints that work and that dispense USD. Had a an omelette on a nice little terrace near the harbour and spent the rest of the day just wandering around town which had old classic cars just parked up on the street all over the place which I thought was a great idea as I do like me classic cars and there are certainly a lot floating around in Uruguay maybe these are folks actual cars!

For dinner I had Chivito AKA Chacarero or what I have been calling them in this blog a Lomito sandwich for dinner after watching another nice sunset and then back to the hostel to chill.

Punta del Este to Montevideo, Wednesday, 3 April 2013 to Friday, 5 April 2013, Day 274 to Day 276

Montevideo

Short run to Montevideo storm had past but still dull and overcast not the most exciting of runs but did stop of at a wavy bridge I wanted to see and hit Montevideo at about 1pm first hostel no parking on site for Daisy only a public car park so headed to another one I had the address for and a recommendation from a Swedish chap this morning and they had a garage and a it was a really nice looking place so I checked in for 3 nights.

Puente leonal Viera or AKA Wavy Bridge

Route 66 Flashbacks!

As I was unpacking my thing there was a huge leak as a pipe had burst upstairs but that was soon rectified.

Went for a walk round the old city which was nice and as usual trying to get USD out of the cash machines but failing miserably tried loads so at the end of the day end up pulling UYE which I will try to change to USD at a reasonable rate.

Western Union was another plan for getting funds in cash across to pay for Daisy trip home but what a piece crap organisation they are. Firstly could only transfer a max of 500EUR to Argentina and when I tried to do this computer said no but managed to send 500 EUR to Uruguay. In theory you are allowed to do two transfers before you are then obliged to do a mandatory identification obligation just in case you may be involved in a monetary laundering scheme but for some reason Western Union declined my second attempt to transfer funds from myself to me and the computer told me a needed to call them to validate the transfer which I managed to do using Skype as I do not have a functioning phone with me. So when they finally did answer the phone they refused to carry out the transfer and could give me no real valid reason why so in short Western Union sucks big time so needed a plan B which mean hitting the cash point every day for the next week or so trying if I can to get USD out if not UYE and looking for the exchange places with the best selling rate for USD.

Also means carrying large wads of cash around which does not make me feel that comfortable oh well.

First day in Montevideo leisurely breakfast find a Western Union office to get the one transfer cashed that I was allowed to make and then a long walk along the coast. On my way I hear music being played so make my way towards that and I stumbles across a live dress rehearsal of the band Franz Ferdinand who where doing a live concert in an outdoor stadium that evening and I got to see the rehearsal which was interesting and a nice way to spend the afternoon.

Walked for miles as well and got back to the hostel a tired little bear and spent the evening working on this and working out my cash position and doing some finances.

For Lies whilst wandering around town came across a silent demonstration and when I inquired what it was for it was about domestic violence and violence against women so once a month they come and demonstrate silently with the placards to try and get message across to the folks and the government that violence against women is unacceptable (against everyone in fact) and something needs to be done about this to ensure it does not happen or is at least reduced. So Lies I was wondering if you are in contact with this group with the work you are doing on this in the NL?

Second day again a leisurely breakfast and hit the town again heading for the parts I had not already covered walked for miles again hit millions of cashpoints looking for USD and not being successful. Found a great high building with a viewing tower with some great views and again walked all over the city.

Montevideo nice city just for wandering around I would not say it was fabulous place and a must see place but I had a pleasant couple of days here. Dizziness and Nausea still there but not as bad and if I am totally busy I do not notice it as much so guess I am not sick and it just a bad case of eeek what the fuck to do with the rest of my life so the only cure for that is well I will let you know when I have figured that one out will just try and keep busy in the meantime.

Punta del Diablo to Punta del Este, Tuesday, 2 April 2013, Day 273

Why is it you can never get your camera out and up and running quickly enough when you spot stuff like this!

Plan today was to hit the road and head to national park along the coast. Weather still dull and overcast and trying to rain and when I got to the national park I was expecting to spend a couple of hours doing a lorry tour around the cape but unfortunately the end of the season was on the 1st of April so no tours just a bus/truck to the village every hour or so. You where not allowed in with your own vehicle.

So plan B heading for Punta Del Este as there a re a few hostels their problem is they are also shutting for the end of the season but after trying a couple find one that is still open and go for a walk. I need to collect enough cash to pay for getting Daisy home and I am trying to get USD out of the machines here so that I can play the Blue Market in Argentina where if you are lucky you can get 8 ARS instead of the official 5 ARS which will cut the coast of shipping but after visiting every machine in town no joy on getting USD and even struggling to get UYE Ho hum.

Walk around town and it very cold and overcast but pleasant enough walk and spot a cinema that is showing the film Les Miserables which is one of my favourite musicals at the theatre and I was curious on how they had adapted this for film. So spent a very pleasant evening lost in the French revolution for a couple of hours and must say enjoyed the adaption a lot and as I was expecting it to be complete pants but the big name stars could even sing a bit and it was very well done. Yes Phillys is a huge musical fan and theatre buff when he not riding his motorcycle round the Americas and has missed his daily dose of culture so tonight was a pleasant escape in to another world where everything is in song :-)

Punta del Este

When I got out there was a huge storm so made my way back to the hostel trying not to get wet and spent the rest of the evening chatting to the folk there and of course working on this.

Added Note. This morning when I woke up I was suffering from a spell of dizziness and sick feeling in my stomach so am I coming down with something or is it is something else. The dizziness not ideal combined with motorcycling and the nausea is never pleasant. Not sure if I am ill but perhaps all of a sudden I have a case of fear, fear of what I do not know but as I am getting closer to the end of my trip it maybe fear of not knowing what to do once this trip is completed and the unknown or maybe I am just ill?

 

 

Cassino to Punta del Diablo, Sunday, 31 March 2013 to Monday, 1 April 2013, Day 271 to Day 272

In Paraguay they had pigs around there national monument so new country Uruguay new monuments this time bulls!

Good nights kip in the tent packed up and heading to Chui in Brazil or Chuy in Uruguay to cross the border into my final new country on this trip. Had found a hostel on the GPS in a place called Punta del Diablo, which I like the sound of.

Pleasant enough ride a huge fire in the distance and some interesting wild life around to keep me interested.

Hit the border long queues at immigration and some folks doing some market research on folks experiences and trips in Brazil which killed a bit of time but was finding difficult to remember where I had been and even harder to remember how to much I had spend and embarrassing on telling folk how much I earn especially when compared to local wages here. It made me think what a bloody fortunate chap I am not short of a bob or two and I am whizzing around on me bike without a care in the world.

Was a bit confused when I got through the Brazilian side was expecting the Uruguayan part next but there was a town of Chuy or was it Chui and had I missed the Uruguayan customs so was thinking of doing a U turn when I figured out I am still in Brazil and its some while till the Uruguayan border for some reason they have put the border post before the town. So decided to fill up with Petrol and got into another ruck with some bloke jumping the queue arrogant tosser thinks as he in a big car he can jump the queue so I call him on his arrogance and of course he is all apologetic as if he did not realise which pisses me of even more when folks do something wrong and they know dam well they are doing something wrong and start apologising without really meaning it. No I do accept your apologises and you sir are an arrogant fucker who should not be allowed out in polite society. Philly is hot and sweaty and looking for a ruck and scared the hell out of this fella I am not a violent person and a total pacifist at heart but I look like I could do some damage and I have a gob on me that is quite ruthless if required which can get me both into trouble and out of trouble depending on the situation and this fella needed to be brought down a peg or two.

Need to chill and cool down before hitting the Uruguay part of the border which was a breeze nice chap doing the formalities so back in a better mood in no time and its only a short ride to Punta del Diablo my destination because I like the sound of the place.

Fun and games as usual with GPS!

My GPS was doing it usual trick of not wanting to cooperate and had been directed me in a huge loop to my destination which I kept ignoring so I was 30km away from were I wanted to be and it was telling me I was 288km away.

I found out why later as the road I was travelling on turned into a runway for airplanes for the military so Mr Garmin did not see this as a road and kept on redirecting me I just followed the road signs!

Before Punta del Diablo a nice fort called Santa Theresa where I stopped for a while for a look at first they tried to charge me then it was free which was confusing but spent some time here before heading to the hostel in a cool little seaside town which had a really cool vibe to it.

Went for a short walk looking for food and then back to the hostel and just chilling there.

Punta del Diablo

As I had loads of time on my hands had decided to spend another day here woke up had my free breakfast weather dull and overcast so hung around the hostel for a while in the hammock and then went for a long walk along the gorgeous coastline which was nice. Had a late lunch/early dinner than back to the hostel and chatting to the folks there.

Kite Surfing on my to do list another sport Philly can be crap at :-)

There where so many request from my fan base out there for pictures of Philly on a surfboard here you go.

 

 

Porto Alegre to Cassino, Saturday, 30 March 2013, Day 270

Leaving Porto Alegre

Oops I have let this slip so mad catch up must be because I am so close to the end that this is no longer a chore a cherish but I will persevere on behalf of my loyal fan base and I hate reading blogs or ride reports that just end in the middle with the last bit omitted or the end of the story so I am determined not to let this happen with mine, I even have some plans on adding a couple of extra pages with the Finances, Accommodation list, Cost and kit reviews but I digress lets get back to the story. Weird day had two options of a final destination and was unsuccessful in either and ended up putting my tent up in the dark.

So the original destination was Pelotas uneventful run there tried a few hotels but all rather expensive and was not getting a great feel from the place and I had a plan B which was Rio Grande so pulled the plug on Pelotas but first checked out the beach to see if I could find affordable digs there. Nope there was not much going on there either so onwards and forward to Rio Grande. So no Candy festival in Pelotas but there was the festival of the sea in Rio Grande, which made finding accommodation for Daisy and I nigh on impossible. Tried loads either too pricy or full or no safe parking. So what was supposed to be an easy relaxing day was turning into a pain in the ass. Eventually decided to pull the plug on Rio Grande and head for Cassino next town down the coast. All of the above had taking a lot of time and it was getting dark. On the way into Cassino spotted a campsite but first wanted to try and get a bed for the night in Cassino but no joy there either so back to the campsite and I am putting my tent up in the dark.

So my original plan failed back under canvas it’s been a while. Went back to Cassino for my dinner nice Lomito sandwich and back to my tent with my kindle for the rest of the evening.

Was passing what looked like a modern block of flats but on closer inspection turned out to be a multi-storey graveyard!