Author Archives: wimbat

04-02-2013 Adendum

When travelling by plane, I usually manage to doze quite a bit and sometimes even sleep. Flying from Buenos Aires to Madrid however, was not successful when it came to resting. Arriving in Amsterdam at last found me more tired than usual. Nevertheless, I was glad to be back and found my brother and mother waiting for me. They were so kind to indulge me in spending some more time at the airport, figuring out where the cargo area was. It was already clear to me that the motorbike arrived 1 day before me, so it was supposed to be somewhere around the airport. After trying two cargo areas, I found out where it was. This really made my day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I arrived home in the afternoon, I called my best friend and he was immediately prepared to lend me his car. After picking it up, I went to other friends to pick up my trailer. Around 20:00h this same Monday, I was back at the airport warehouse where my bike was stored. They handed me a form which I needed to have checked with customs at the passenger terminal. Fortunately customs stayed open until 22:00h. The customs officer asked for my ticket or booking confirmation, passport and Airway bill. Once she had all the details, everything seemed fine and within 15 minutes I was on my way back to the warehouse.
Here I was presented with the invoice for unloading and storing, which I paid promptly. Only 10 minutes later they loaded the pallet with my motorbike on the trailer and I was on my way back.

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12 Hours after I landed in Amsterdam, my bike was back at the barracks it started from. It is really great to experience how smooth everything went, from dropping of the bike at Buenos Aires Airport to picking it up at Amsterdam Airport. If there will be a next time, I will not think twice about shipping the motorbike by air cargo !!!

I got home about 1 hour after midnight.ย 
The next day I went to work for the first day after my holiday. In the afternoon I got really tired and went home early to catch a little sleep. In the evening however, I went back to the barracks, put the bike back together with a little help and rode it back home through the freezing cold. It’s safely back home now in my own garage ๐Ÿ™‚

I had a wonderful experience and a really nice adventure with my own motorbike, travelling on another continent and I’m already dreaming of a next time…. ย ๐Ÿ™‚
Of course I also learned a lot that I will use as preparation for a next time.

I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog and commenting from time to time. I have had many positive reactions and I honestly did not expect it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Feel free to comment or ask details.
Maybe you’ll find useful information, like I did on other blogs, like:
http://www.harenmaropreis.nl
http://www.proyectomapear.com.ar/
http://www.houseofmotorrad.com/Riding_south.html
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com (here you can find a wealth of information of all kind of travels throughout the whole world) and many more….

SAtrip

 

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02-02-2013 Last day in South America

The night again was too hot and there were quite a few annoying mosquitos who kept me awake. Over breakfast I decided that for my last night in Buenos Aires, I was going to get a hotel room with air-condition. I really need a good night sleep.
Outside, the wind came up in the morning and it was really a lot cooler than yesterday. I went on the internet and booked a hotel room elsewhere in the city. Around lunchtime the 2 French guys, Gregoire and Julien, woke up and Gregoire also planned to leave today. He left at 13:30. I waited until 15:00 before asking the reception to call me a cab. I am done walking for this trip ๐Ÿ˜‰

When the taxi arrived I said goodbye to Maite and to Julien and the staff of the hostel and left.
The hotel room is spacious and indeed has air-conditioning so I think I will be fine for tonight. The man from the reception told me that there should be a bus heading for the airport, 2 blocks from here. Just to be safe I went out to look for that bus stop and indeed I found it.

Tomorrow I’ll leave for the airport around 08:30. Here ends my adventure in South America for 2013.

01-02-2013 Finalising shipping procedure

The past few days have been really hot and the nights as well. Good night sleeps are becoming rare. I’m up early most of the time and today was no exception. I double-checked the address of the shipping company in the city and went out. It took some 45 minutes walk to get there and I tried to walk in the shade as much as I could. When I arrived in the office, I was sweating from the long walk in the heat. Fortunately there was air conditioning and the staff was really friendly. They gave me a copy of the invoice with the exact amount to be deposited in their bank account.

The bank was only 2 doors down from their office and I only had to wait about 20 minutes before it was my turn. It took 3 minutes maximum to deposit the money and acquire the proof of payment. Then I went back to the office, but to a different floor. There I submitted the proof of payment and in return was given the Airway bill and original invoice. My bike will be on a plane tonight and arrive in Amsterdam on the same day that I will. What a relief that everything went so smoothly and without complications.

Next thing I planned was to go to an area with lots of small shops to look for a suitcase. After 20 minutes walking I arrived and eventually found a shop where I could haggle a little and bought the suitcase. Now I had to drag it all the way back to the hostel. When I finally arrived, my knee and back were sore and I needed a shower.

The rest of the afternoon was spent, with relaxing in the shade and sipping rum with lime and sugar. The 2 French guys were going out again at night, but I didn’t join them; my knee needs rest. At 23:00 it started to rain heavily and it cooled off somewhat. Hopefully tonight I will sleep better.

31-01-2013 Buenos Aires III: Boca

I had no plans for today, when I woke up. The weather in Buenos Aires is very hot and humid, like in Brazil as I remember from 2011. Taking it slow and easy is the rational thing to do ๐Ÿ˜‰
Around 11:00, one of the other travellers, Maite, suggested to go and see Boca. This is a poor area with a very popular artistic section.
So the two of us took a bus and went to check it out. It was exactly like the Lonely Planet described it. Very colourful and vibrant. More than a few couples dressed in Tango dancing outfit, offered to partner up for money and have your photos taken with them. We liked the idea and went along with it. I must admit, I wasn’t really dressed for the occasion, but that didn’t really matter…. ย  (or so I was told… haha)

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It was all very much a tourist trap, but nonetheless Boca’s charm and atmosphere makes you forget about that instantly.

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On the way back, we took the wrong bus and found ourselves in the centre. The metro was the fastest way from there, back to the hostel. Besides the fastest way, it was also much much cooler than on the streets. By the time we got back it was around diner time soย I went with two others to another part of the city for some diner and beers. When we returned back to the hostel, my feet, back and knee were killing me and I was very tired from all the walking of today.

Tomorrow, there’s one last thing that I must do: pay for the air freight and receive the Airway Bill. I also plan to buy a suitcase, since all my stuff is in plastic bags and the one remaining saddle bag. Not really convenient to travel with on a plane. ๐Ÿ˜‰

30-01-2013 Buenos Aires II

Getting up in time this morning was no problem I was somewhat excited. After breakfast, I re-checked everything I put in my top case and tank bag. At around 09:00 I manoeuvred the motorbike out of the hostel and started the last 30 km in South America on my faithful Super Tรฉnรฉrรฉ. Getting close to the airport I almost messed up by taking the wrong exit. That was easily corrected and I arrived at the cargo area of the airport with plenty of time to spare.

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At 09:30, Ariel came to greet me and showed me where to go. While he went inside to start processing documents, all the airport personnel I saw friendly directed me to the cargo bay. Here the motorbike was weighed and then I was directed to a packing area.
Three men were waiting there with a long pallet. They directed me to ride the bike on the pallet and then let me do my thing.
I put my weight on the back and strapped the backside down to the wheel, then took out the front wheel, removed the front fairing and mirrors and loosened the handlebars, so I could move them down. Then the men from the cargo bay strapped down the whole bike to the pallet. All this to make the motorbike as low as possible, in order to save shipping costs.

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Regulations state, that the battery poles must be disconnected, tyres halfway deflated and as little fuel as possible left in the tank. I was already running the bike on reserve when I left the hostel this morning, so that was fine.

Next thing on the list, was waiting for customs inspection. At a certain moment, Ariel appeared, asking for all the copies I was told to make. Not long after that, He re-appeared with a lady from customs, who had a look at the bike, asked about the fairing, then checked the frame number. THAT WAS IT !!!!!!!
I could not believe it was this easy and everything dealt with in such short time. The cargo bay people wrapped the pallet with the XTZ in plastic and put stickers on it, confirming it had been inspected.

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Ariel showed me where to take the minibus to the city centre and said goodbye. Just to be safe, I called Sandra from Dakar motors, but she re-assured me that this was really everything that needed to be done.

When I got back to Buenos Aires downtown, I wandered around a bit and finally went back to the hostel. Sandra called to tell me the final costs, which were quite a bit lower than expected, due to the fact that I managed to make the bike really a lot lower than it is by default, standing on 2 wheels. The amount she mentioned I’ll have to deposit in the bank on friday, since tomorrow is a public holiday. After proof of payment, I will be handed a copy of the Bill of Loading (Airway bill).

In the hostel, one of the guest suggested he’d make asado and asked who would like to chip in. Almost everybody did, and so did I ๐Ÿ™‚

The day ended with a great meal, enough wine and beer to be merry and nice international company.

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Tomorrow is a public holiday so I will probably go and see something of the city.

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29-01-2013 Buenos Aires I

A VIP treatment is what I got from Gabriel’s family. After breakfast I prepared to leave. I decided to leave my motor boots, whom I only used this trip. They’re still practically new and Gabriel’s size. I hope he can use them. It was hard to say goodbye but I was pressed for time.

Buenos Aires was only some 270 km away and the trip went well. It was hot again though. On internet, I found a website about people who help motorcycle travellers with advice, accommodation and parts.ย http://dakarmotos.com/index1.htm
T
he Garmin led me to their address without problems. Javier apologised for not being able to offer accommodation due to water problems. When I told him that communication with the shipping company that I had, took forever, he nodded and said that I was probably too late anyway to get everything sorted and advised me to postpone my flight. Then he calculated the price for air cargo and I noticed that it wasn’t much more expensive than Roll-on/Roll-off shipping. He made a couple of phone calls and as it appeared, the bike could be dropped of at the airport, and all formalities taken care off before my own flight home. All of this, provided that my documents were perfectly in order and customs were not making trouble, and I paid the full amount in time.

I decided that this was my best option and agreed. Javier set the wheels in motion, and later that day, his wife Sandra returned and confirmed everything. Tomorrow, I will need to go to the airport and their contact will help me deal with customs.
Sandra then arranged a hostel in the city for me and told me to stay in touch.

I found my way to the hostel and parked the bike inside, manoeuvring on millimetres to get it in the cramped space. The evening I spent on repacking everything so that only motorbike related stuff was in the top case and tank bag.

After this exhausting day, I slept really quickly. Tomorrow is the last ride of my XTZ on this continent for this trip.

28-01-2013 Rosario

Sleeping in a hostel, means consideration for your roommates. When I got up early this morning I packed as quietly as I could. After dragging everything downstairs, I picked up the bike from the guarded parking and packed it. When I wanted to pay, I got a big smile and the message that I was a friend of the boss and the one night accommodation was for free. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย  Such nice people in Argentina.

The sky was clouded and it was a good temperature. I even thought it might rain, but it didn’t. Approximately 55 km out of Cรณrdoba I suddenly realised that I forgot my phone in the hostel. Although the phone didn’t contain sensitive information, I did turn around and went back to the hostel. Right where I left it, I found it. And away I went for the 2nd time….

The sun came out and it got hot… really hot, when I reached Rosario. I went to the address that Gabriel gave me but there was no answer to my knocking. So I went to explore a little and buy some chain spray. I also got the bike washed by 5 youngsters who ran a car wash together. They did an excellent job, and I can’t remember the last time it was this clean ๐Ÿ™‚

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When I tried the address again, Gabriel heard my motorbike approaching and opened the door to what appeared to be his workshop. A big collection of motorbikes was parked inside. His pride and joy: a Kawasaki Z1000 from the early nineties. I followed him home where I met the rest of the family again, plus Florencia’s boyfriend Martรญn. I was soaked from sweating and was somewhat embarrassed. Fernanda offered me the bathroom for a shower and even washed my clothes quickly…. Heaven, I tell you… ๐Ÿ™‚
This was so nice and hospitable. After having talked for a little while, Gabriel offered me tour of the city, which I accepted with a smile off course. He showed me beautiful parts of the city and the river.

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Back at their home, Gabriel made asado, the Argentinean way of cooking meat outside like BBQ, but different. We talked a lot and I felt more and more confident in understanding and speaking Spanish. Fortunately Florencia was always prepared to translate whenever my efforts were in vain. Even Agustin helped out from time to time. Despite the unpleasant heat, it was a great and wonderful day. And the bike slept safe inside their garage. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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