Category Archives: Brazil

Asuncion to Puerto Iguazu, Tuesday, 5 March 2013, Day 245

Makes you want one!

A hot shower this morning strange the cheaper the place sometimes the facilities are so much better not a bad breakfast either. Time to load Daisy and the street is completely different than yesterday when its was dead today it was chocker block with folks and Daisy is parked at a bus stop so surrounded by folks waiting for buses getting on and off busses that seemed to come every minute so basically Daisy was blocking a very busy thoroughfare Ooops.

So I packed her very quickly as she was in the way of everyone trying to get to work I did not fettle with the chain as there was no space and I hit the rush hour of a Capital city and it has been a while since I was in heavy traffic and it was quite chaotic. Looking for bikes shops as I head out of the city and I spot a Honda dealer and stop and enquire about chains. It amazes me how little the folks in these shop know about what they are selling a chain is a chain it does not matter what type of bike it goes on if you have the specs and I do it’s an O ring 525 chain with 118 links but the chap there is not sure as a Honda dealer that the chains they have would fit a Suzuki but he will investigate. He comes back some time later and tells me that a Honda Atlas has a 525 chain and 118 link really fascinating but do you have one. No!

I am not having a dig at these guys as they were trying so hard to help me they called some guys in town to see if they had one in stock and it was hard to get away as they where determined they where going to get me a chain so I appreciate the effort put in in it was entertaining but also very time consuming. One guy rang his mate who had V-strom and seemingly he got his spares from Amazon.com which is good to know! I finally managed to get away thanking my new friends for there effort and I head back to the road out of town and I try a couple more shops one will only work on bikes that he sells and an other had one but it only had 114 links but we could butcher another one for the 4 extra links not the solution I was looking for and surprisingly this last dialog all done in German! So I decide that Paraguay is not the place for chains lets wait till we get to Brazil and see if I can score one there. It’s about 12.30am and I still not left Asuncion and I still need to get Iguazu and a border crossing so I better hurry up.

still dullsville

It felt like I was driving through town for age’s loads of traffic and stopping and starting and when I did leave town it was never for very long before and you where passing through another town or village with speed humps chaotic traffic and traffic lights. I have been away in unpopulated areas for to long and I am not enjoying this much its dull and overcast and threatening to rain as well and it finally does so waterproofs out andI need to be very careful as the road are very muddy.

  

took very few photos today not really in the mood and scenery not that photogenic.

I finally reach Ciudad del Este and realize the route that Mr GPS is sending is via Brazil and there no way I want to go through Brazil and add another border crossing to my day as its already quite late. So I am certain that there has to be a way into Argentina without going via Brazil (does this sound familiar) I am stuck in rush hour traffic just before the border when I have this realisation so I turn right and I figure out that if I follow the river I should hit the border with Argentina soon why Mr GPS is not being cooperative I do not know why. I ask some Motorbike taxis and they send me to a place called tres fronteres which sound promising and I ask a police man and he says yes there is a border crossing but its closed but its down there. Well he was right it’s a ferry to Argentina and the last one is 16.30pm its 17.30pm I talk to the Army guys at the ferry about next border crossing into Argentina and that’s about 200km away as there are no bridges across the river till then. I am about 5km away from the Hotel where A & A are staying but have to go back 20km and then go in via Brazil and this I was not expecting. Sheepishly I follow the instruction of Mr GPS who was right this time and I really should do my homework on Border crossing I am expecting a lot more than there is in reality. Huge queues crossing the bridge into Brazil but its moving I nearly miss Paraguay immigration and Aduana as I cannot see them for the lorries but I know they are there so pull over and I am just past them. Check out easy peasy next stop Brazil. Tell the guys I am going straight through to Argentina so they say just do immigration for me and there is no need for a temporary import for the bike so that was easy as well. 20km ride through Brazil, which looks very civilised in comparison to Paraguay high tech traffic lights, which count down and up for every light change which is quite mesmerising.

Final border immigration for me simple chat with Aduana and they say if I am only going into Puerto Iguazu and going directly back to Brazil no need to import the bike into Argentina. It sounds dodgy but its late and getting dark so accept this and head to the Hotel to meet up with A & A.

Rolled into Argentina just as it was getting dark.

I roll up to the Hotel just as its getting dark A & A are there and seem happy to see me 🙂 so shall I stay at this place or try and find a hostel as its quite expensive but I am knackered and I really do not like the creepy guy running the place but after some negotiations I get the price down to a more acceptable level by agreeing a 3 night deal and I have a huge room with a double bed and 3 single bed as well so have 4 beds to choose from to sleep into tonight nice.

A & A you have taught me well in the art of haggling for Hotel rooms 🙂

I am totally done in after my long day I just had and and so where A & A as they been out and about all day as well so we spent the evening just hanging in there room chatting and catching up and swapping tall stories no dinner only chocolate biscuits which was all I needed. A very pleasant evening I am going to miss you guys and it was nice that you where always in the vicinity so when I needed company or a pick me up a quick E-mail and a rendezvous was quickly sorted 🙂

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Puerto Iguazu to Cascavel, Friday, 8 March 2013, Day 248

Modern Cathedrals  i am not sure about them yet!

  

I have no idea where I am going only that I want to get to Rio de Janeiro. I have found out very little information on this stretch of the trip there is nothing in the guides books and or on the forums that I can find so it is going to be a total surprise as I have no idea what the route will be like and I usually I do have a vague idea.

Border crossing very simple done so them many now that I am a pro. I had seen a Suzuki Motorcycle shop in Foz do Iguacu on my way through Brazil as my chain is totally knackered and I have very little confidence in it and I am expecting it to come loose and to take my foot of with it which is an uncomfortable feeling. Adjusted it again this morning not that it makes much difference. I also noticed the nut on the spindle was loose so does that mean that it had worked itself loose or had dick for brains (me) forgotten to tightened it last time he was fettling with it oops that could have been a disaster.

Half decent scenery at last and rolling hills yes 🙂

Suzuki Dealer does not have the chain I am looking for so off to the Honda Dealer nope they do not either so then to the Yamaha Dealer yes they have one but again bleeding expensive. Try another couple of shops again no cigar and I had tried 3 shops in Puerto Iguazu as well yesterday so not much luck on the chain front. It was a very hot day so 35 degrees plus so all I wanted to do was get riding to cool down slightly as I was a soggy mess and most of the day had already gone by the time I left Foz do Iguacu in the direction of Cascavel the state capital maybe I would have better luck there.

Hot sweaty day scenery pleasant much better than the last couple of day in Argentina but it does not take much to be better than that! I forgot to hit a cash machine in Foz or as it was to hot I thought I get to one later as I did not need any Brazilian Cash just yet. However about after 20km I see a tollbooth ahead no problems bikes are usually free no not today. Bugger plug ATM into my GPS and there’s one about 5km back down the road.

Try the first machine nope not working and all in Portuguese so I have to queue to ask somebody to help me on whether or not the machine accepts my card or am I just pressing the wrong buttons. It’s the first one so to the next bank HSBC first machine says no twice second machine also says no so I being helped by a lady from the bank who suggest a put on a lower value in great idea love but I will be still be charged the same fee for less money, I am hot sweaty and irritable and I comply and the machine dies completely in front of my eyes bugger. Nice lady directs me to the next bank for a small village in the middle of nowhere there sure are lots of banks and the machine at this one also says no but before that the guard also says no to me in entering the bank with my helmet on so you can guess at Phillys mood at this moment so I chat with yet another lady who directs me to yet another bank and yes finally we have a winner Phillys has some Real’s so I can pay the toll attendant to get to Cascavel where the continuing saga of the replacement chain can recommence. I had been chatting to a local bloke who had given me the name of the street with the bike dealers on it well I say chatting the mood I was in he was chatting I was giving him gruff retorts to his chattiness so my friend I do apologise for being in a foul mood us chubby English blokes are just not designed for this kind of heat and I had been un successfully being traipsing round banks and bike shops for what seemed like forever.

Hit Cascavel temperature was creeping into the 40’s first stop Honda Dealer nope no chain then to the Yamaha Dealer a complete Asshole telling me that I have a 520 chain on my bike not a 525 and he insists on dragging me and his mates out into the heat to prove he is right. Oh what a surprise it’s a 525 I know you twat as that what I put on last time and I have been telling you for the last 10 minutes then he starts going on about 520 being the same as 525 no they are not and anyhow he states you cannot get 525 in Brazil or the whole of South America. I could have battered the guy he was so full of himself instead I just left saying I would just continue with this one thank you very much at which he suggested pulling a couple links out of this one to add some life. Thanks but no thanks mate that is just asking for trouble.

I found the Suzuki dealer and joys of joy they have one with 120 links but they can easily take 2 out of a new chain no problem It  was not cheap but I had gotten to the point of not caring and asked if they could fit it there and then.

Some TLC for Daisy well sort of!

Yep no problem, I have said it before but it is probably not wise to hang around and watch when someone else is working on your beloved bike well today was no different I have not cringed so much at the mechanical apathy shown whilst working on Daisy since the last time someone did some work on her that I watched!

We had a look at the front sprocket, which was toast, and they had a new one so added that to things to change this was when the first problem started the mechanic could not get the nut holding the front sprocket loose so huge torque wrench with extension for additional mechanical advantage was called for and she would still not shift so next we call the big fella with muscles and see if he can get it loose nope no joy either, so the mechanic disappears of on his bike and comes back 10 minutes later with air gun. This fails as the air gun is not powerful enough either to the loosen nut so it is back to Torque wrench with an even longer bar extension and then there is a huge crack as she is finally loosened. I think there is a macho thing going on with mechanics on how tight they can do up nuts as this is not the first time I have struggled with loosening nuts on Daisy there are specs for tightening nuts and bolts but these are mostly ignored and tightened till they cannot be tightened no more!

  

So that was the front sprocket changed and now on with the new chain. In theory you have a tool that spreads the soft rivets on an O-ring chain they did not have that tool just a hammer a wooden block and a chisel and then just hit the bugger using the back sprocket as the vice! Oh and no protection of the O-ring to ensure that they do not get squished the teeth of the back sprockets will ensure that they will be okay. I was cringing whilst all this was going like I said should be somewhere else and just see the finished product, as ignorance is bliss.

All this took quite a while so after settling the bill I went to look for hotel one recommended by the blokes at Suzuki to expensive but they pointed me to a cheaper one down the road. Quite expensive by my standards but as I have no idea of prices yet in Brazil I went for it as I was hot sweaty and tired. I went for a walk and for some dinner and back to the room working on this again 🙂

I had made very little inroads towards Rio de Janeiro with all the faffing looking for a bank and even longer looking for a chain that was more expensive than others I had declined in the last couple of days oops but Daisy is sorted and touch wood I only need to keep her filled up with fuel for the rest of the trip as the consumables are all up to date and fresh (sort off :-))

Cascavel to Ourinhos, Saturday, 9 March 2013,Day 249

Nice Country Scene

Nice run today no idea where I am only a vague idea where I am heading that being Rio de Janeiro. I covered no distance yesterday so I decided a big mileage and long days in the saddle should get me there in couple of days. Its was bleeding hot again so another day being a hot sweaty dribbley mess in the saddle.  The main roads all seem to be toll roads and unlike some countries in South America you have to pay for a bike for the majority of them so I was forever having to stop take my gloves of found my wallet pay get ticket put wallet back put gloves back on and this is a slow process which I always do very slowly hoping that toll booth owners will realise it is not very efficient charging motorcyclist and all we do is hold up the threw flow of traffic and its bleeding hot every time when you stop. (I spent EUR20.00 on tolls today imagine if I had to do that every day of the trip it would prove to be very costly endeavour)

I decide to call it a day in Ourinhos for no other reason than that I liked the name like I said no idea of where I am or what places are nice and are worth stopping for in this neck of the woods. I spotted a hotel and just as I pulled up it started to chuck it down luckily I was just inside but I was drying some kit on the back of the bike that had got wet before and this was dry but now it was soaking wet again. They had a room but no real safe place for Daisy but they directed me to another Hotel in the centre of town. The rain had eased so I headed there and yes they had a cheap room and safe parking for daisy and Internet so sold.

I went for a walk and it was still raining but not so hard there was not much to see in town I found a place selling meat on stick so sat under an awning out of the rain to enjoy my BBQ meat kebabs and then it really started pissing down so I sat there eating my dinner glad I was not out in that and I waited for it to ease of before finally running from cover to cover back to the hotel to work on this.

After weeks of procrastination I have finally booked my airline ticket home so Phillys is going to Istanbul, as this is the cheapest way I could find to get home with Turkish Airlines it is going to take me 32 hours to get home so that should be fun.

Daisy is being airfreighted to Amsterdam I think via London on British Airways and after doing a lot of research and changing my mind 3 or 4 times a day I have decided to use the services of Dakarmotos http://www.dakarmotos.com not because they where the cheapest but because I had a good feeling on how they operated and I had seen Sandra in action and I knew the bike would get home as I seen her ship some other bikes whilst I was staying there the other options where all somewhat unknown quantities for me and I did not fancy taking any risks.

So that is about 30 days left of traveling in South America and 36 before I am back in reality. You may have noticed I have been a bit of a grouch lately so I need to find my happy mojo. I think the many months of relentless travelling where starting to catch up with me and the heat and me are never a good combination as the fine figure that is Philly is just not designed for these kind of temperatures so once I hit Rio I am going to slow the pace right down and try and enjoy what is left of my trip as I have the time to cut the pace as I am no longer in a hurry to catch a boat or get somewhere before the weather turns cold or any other enforced deadlines so its tappy lappy up the coast back to Buenos Aires but I first I still need to get to Rio.

 

Ourinhos to Taubate, Sunday, 10 March 2013, Day 250

Handy Bus stops for putting on waterproofs and at least daisy sort of getting a clean 🙂

It rained heavily all night but it was sort of dry when I left this morning you would think that the rain would have taken some of the heat away but it is still very hot. I am trying to get past Sao Paulo today as I do not fancy staying there as it’s a huge dangerous metropolis I am glad I am doing this on a Sunday as I cannot imagine what its like on a normal week day. The strange thing about to day coming into Sao Paulo the toll roads are now free for motorcyclist and they have small lanes at the side where bikes go through for nothing where as up till now I had spend a fortune in Brazil on tolls. All of them except one there where about 20 toll booths spread across the road I was heading for the far right as this where the bike lane usually is but as I was doing this a car started honking his horn and signalling me to go for the middle as at this one the bike lane right in the middle just to confuse us poor foreigners like me so I had to cross another 10 lanes of traffic to get to the bike lane like I said I was glad it was Sunday. As I left Sao Paulo they started charging again for motorcyclist so Philly is confused and ask an attendant why this in bad Spanish and response I got  in Portuguese but from what I can gather going into town is free for bikes going out you have to pay so I am guessing my faffing and taken my time at toll booths may have been noticed by the owners so they are not charging on the way in when I am guessing its utter chaos in morning rush hour now for the rest of country all toll roads free for motorcyclist as we are small and inefficient vehicles to process so lets do away with charging us.

Good Graffiti like it when done well.

I got lost a couple of time getting across Sao Paulo as there where huge 10 lane highways split into smaller ones all going the same way but taking different routes to get there around the various obstacles and spaghetti junction after spaghetti junction so even with my GPS I was finding it hard to navigate through this mine field.

I was heading for a place called Sao Jose dos Campus as this seemed like a big town past Sao Paulo leaving a reasonable run left to get me to Rio.

I drove around looking for a hotel and there did not seem to be any affordable ones available and if the where affordable they had no availability. It was hot again had been raining earlier in the day and it was threatening to rain again. My lonely Planet had nothing on the places I have been travelling through the last couple of days so I take a look at the map and there is another town called Taubate about 40km down the road so I have a new destination.

Yes it was Ideal.

I finally found a nice little affordable nice hotel I’m Taubate and go for a wander around town looking for food. Again this is just another ordinary Brazilian town but pleasant enough for an evening.I find a Chinese restaurant for my dinner and it has been a while since I had had  one and I ordered Singapore Noodles, which was more Indian Curry than Chinese style but it was a nice change.

     

Got back to the hotel just as it started to piss down with rain. I was sitting the kitchen/ dining room which was a building attached to the side of the house and not attached that well as it was pouring outside and water was running down the walls and across the floor so I retired to my room which was in a more waterproof part of the building 🙂

 

Taubate to Rio de Janeiro, Monday, 11 March 2013, Day 251

Gorgeous run through the mountains 🙂

A lovely run through a nice mountain range to Rio but then for the last 60km riding through suburbs and towns which where chocker block with gridlocked traffic so hard work as it was hot as hell again.

I finally made it to town and headed to an address in Ipanema that allegedly there where a load of hostels on a private street near the centre so safe parking for Daisy. Yes it was a closed street but for some reason they did not allow me to park my bike down there as seemingly some of the residence on the street objected to this I am guessing, as I was a hot sweaty mess they just did not like the look of me. I tried another place down the road and yes they had a place for me and safe parking for Daisy a bit expensive for a hostel but they did have a swimming pool and this is in one most expensive areas in Rio.

Triple decker bunks!

So have signed up for 3 nights to discover the delights of Rio I may stay longer as I am no longer in a hurry to be anywhere.

Ipanema Beach loverly walk.

I had a dip in the pool which was glorious as I was boiling and later I walked the length of Ipanema beach which was nice I am pinching myself as I am in Rio Baby and it is a rather cool place and I am looking forward to the next couple of days 🙂

Rio de Janeiro, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 to Thursday, 14 March 2013,Day 251 to Day 254

Can you spot the difference which one is the real one!

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun was the theme for the next three days. It was hot as hell in the room in my triple-decker bunk bed but I did have the whole room to myself after getting rid of some whiney German bloke who objected to the smell of my bike boots. He was right about the pong as they are pretty minging at the moment so as soon as he had moved I put them outside and I would have done this much earlier if he had only asked nicely 🙂

Triple decker Bunk beds!

I had a bit of a sleep in as breakfast was served  till 10am and it was quite a decent breakfast as well so I had a long leisurely breakfast next to the pool trying to figure out what I was going to do first in Rio and I have plenty time so no longer any need for rushing around. It was 12am when I ventured out and extremely hot. The Plan was to walk to Copacabana I first walked through Ipanema trying to stay out of the sun and then along Copacabana beach in the full sun idiot but it had to be done. A long walk and looking at the map I had with me it looked like I should be quite close to the cable car for Sugar Loaf Mountain but I was still miles away as there was a huge hill/mountain in the way so walked some more I had probably walked about 15km in the heat and sun so that is what I mean about mad dogs and Englishmen 🙂

  

  

  

Copacabana Beach

I got the cable car up the hill to enjoy the magnificent views and to watch the sun set over Jesus on the hill opposite. Gorgeous, I met some other folks from the hostel a Dutch couple and English girl and I got a taxi back with them as I was all walked out and I went for some dinner with them and then back to the hostel as I was well knackered.

Sugar Loaf Mountain amazing Views

Day two morning was a repeat of yesterday and then bang on midday mad dog here ventures out into the heat this time to the other end of Ipanema beach and to the lake then a bus to catch the train up to see Christ the Redeemer on the hill as I had done enough walking in the heat and the sun for today. There is a small railway up the hill to Christ the Redeemer but the earliest seat available was at 5pm and it was 3.30pm so went for a small walk to see some ruins the Dutch couple had told me about and then I had a late lunch early dinner at a café at the bus station whilst waiting for my train.

Old ruin Building great fixer upper if anyone has the cash!

      

The train takes about 25 minutes to get up the hill nice ride but the weather had changed and it was trying to rain. I only got about 30 minutes at the top as the last train down was at 6.30pm which I did not realise as I would have like to have spend more time up there and I thought it would be the same setup as Sugar Loaf mountain but what really pissed me off more was that at 6pm they came round telling folks that the train was leaving to try and get every one to the station we then only had to wait 20 minutes which could have been better spent up on the hill bastards!

Christ the Redeemer

+++++++++++     ++++++++

 

I got the bus back to the hostel expecting it to go the same way as it had come but it took a totally different route so busses here do not go from point A and back but huge loops around the whole town so I got to see loads more of Rio it took more than hour to get back. I had a quick sandwich and then back to relax at the hostel.

      

I am liking Rio so it is an brainer and  I am staying another day this time heading to Lapa and St Theresa neighbourhoods and to the center this time I am trying to use the Metro. A lot cooler today as it is dull and overcast. I walk for miles again I saw the famous stairs and I wandered all over the place and half way back to the hostel just enjoying the different neighbourhoods and walking around this city which has a real nice vibe about it.

Famous Rio Stairs

                   

      

I got back to the Hostel quite late and I am working on this then beddy byes I am of down the coast tomorrow time to start making my way slowly back to Buenos Aires or at least start moving South again.

Night Night Rio!

Rio de Janeiro to Trindade, Friday, 15 March 2013, Day 255

Nice Spot on the way to Trindade

I am not in a hurry to hit the road, as I am not planning on going that far today only to a place called Paraty. Whilst having my breakfast I was chatting to a German/ Greek guy called Michael who tells me about a really nice hostel in a smaller less touristy village a bit further down the coast so I have a new destination that being the Kaissara Hostel Trindade.

I was going to follow the coast all the way down and I was expecting a gorgeous ride but for the first part it was not so interesting but it got slightly better as the day went on.

 

I stopped at a Nuclear Power Station on the way down which had an info center but unfortunately all in Portuguese and as yet I have not got a clue about the Portuguese language I am still trying to get my head around Spanish. However I do like the language as it makes me giggle as to say hello is oi! And the way the pronounce things is very amusing and very child like from my perspective so even though I do not understand 99% of it I do like listening to it been spoken.

They where painting the roof of the power station I do hope the rest of the maintenance was up to spec and a bit more safer than how they where doing the roof! as It looks like they missed a bit!

painting a nuclear power plant maybe that may be my next job!

    

A very pleasant run into Paraty, the GPS as usual is throwing a strop and sending me into the bushes and the jungle on non-existent roads so I am ignoring it as its well signposted here. Tight thin wiggly road to Trinidad but the views are spectacular down to the beaches then all of a sudden the road stops. I pull up behind a car that has also stopped and we look at each and ask what happened to the road?  there is a stream flowing over some rocks and huge boulder ahead so no way forward then another car appears from the right coming through the water and that is  when we both noticed the road is there to the right so just a minor stream crossing to negotiate.

My destination for today looks alright!

I found the hostel set in a rain forest at the end of a dirt track lovely little place I could spend some time here but as usual I had sort arranged to meet Alex and Andrea in Sao Paulo on Sunday as they where flying home on Monday but I still had a couple of nights here.

Kaissara Hostel Nice 🙂

I went for a walk and paddle along the beach and then back to the Hostel as George the owner was cooking and then I spent a pleasant evening on the veranda where there was a German guy Tom and an English girl Lucy playing the guitar and singing. Usually this kind of stuff is Phillys worst nightmare as I cringe whenever I see a guitar in a hostel as normally there is some talentless git crucifying your favourite songs trying to be as cool as hell and normally failing miserably. However these two could play and sing a bit as well so it was a very pleasant entertaining and relaxing evening. Hostel not so crowded so a very pleasant vibe just chilling.