Thursday, 31 July 2014

Ponta Pora - Let The Magic Begin

Feeling like we had jumped from the frying pan to the fire from Bolivia we were questioning ourselves with a big element of doubt, outside was doom and gloom with miserable weather and very very cold.

I am siting in reception "licking my wounds" per se when a fella who owns a laundry business said something in English, my ears pricked up and I asked, do you speak English and in very good English he replied yes.

Now, this is where doom and gloom ended with more power than a nuclear plant.

He said four very powerful words with sincerity "do you need help?" well I replied yes we do and the discussion followed, we needed our new stator that was sitting in BMW Paraguay in Asuncion across the other side of the country and we could not get it.

No problem he (Aldo) said, I have a Paraguay cellphone and I will be back in 10 minutes, we will ring the guy!!!, so things are now looking up, sure enough within 20 minutes Aldo had organised for our stator to be sent across Paraguay to his Paraguay address saving us $100s in taxes, couriers and import duties. I nearly with joy.

He asked what else we needed?, so yes we need a new charger for the lappy and we had been looking for an oil cooler for Maya to help her keep her cool in the slower going stuff.

We had a great lunch with Aldo, his wife Sara, and three great kids, Isabella, Isodora and Peter, thanks guys it was a very warm and homely thing to do.

The three trouble makers

Ellen reciprocated the following night with dumplings which went down a real treat, Sara and Ellen with the goodies

That following morning we were in the car and off illegally into Paraguay (felt good to knowing the two fat ladies didn't know ) to the KTM dealership, the guys were absolutely taken with our ride and insisted we return with the bike for photos, given they too went out of their way we were very happy to go back with Maya, it made their day to see the SE

They also had a cuddly KTM dog

They found us an oil cooler from a late model Honda 300, it was second hand but mint condition, although not perfect in size it was all we could get, we had looked all over Bolivia so decided we would make this work, style points not very high but function points 150%, it works a bloody treat

In cruzing zig zigs and tight back roads Maya belts out a lot of heat and in 35 - 40 deg days the fans are on a lot so to help keep her cool we added the oil cooler which will help oil and engine life in these hotter parts

So, back to our Ponta Pora God Aldo, we needed an engineering shop to fab some brackets and buy some oil hose and clamps.

We found one, the owner Wagner said we close at 12 30, it was 10.00am already, talking with Aldo I said not worth starting the job as it will take longer.

As quick as a flash, Wagner says hey no problem, take all the time you need and gave me full access to his workshop, he left and came back with the parts, Aldo left and returned with our new stator in hand so today the stars aligned and everything was going to the new plan.

This is happiness in a box, thank your Jaime for getting it sorted mate

The burnt one , all 18 poles burnt but it was still working as long as there was no load or very little anyway.

Wagner the shop owner then organised some mates to come over, it was beers, barb que and bullshit all in Portuguese of course.....good times

Wagner soon realized he did not have to spoon feed me and we had the tank off, cleaned the air prefilters, fitted the new stator and fabricated brackets for the oil cooler all while eating steaks and drinking coke and beers.... we just needed the dancing girls to finish off a perfect day.

Wagner is a Jiu Jitsu fighter with lots of international titles to his name, we watched a couple of 10 round fights that were literally over in 60 seconds with knockouts and Wagner not even breaking a sweat ... the dude is good, if Ellen had him that day in Bolivia the would be dead.

Ellen with her new found boyfriend ... she had stars in her eyes

While we had access to the workshop we straightened out Ellens case and racks after our off in Bolivia, having the right tools made it easy, to top it off we were invited to stay and meet their family who were also keen to meet the crazy people from New Zealand riding a motorbike from the top of the world to the bottom of the was cool

Aldo and his wife Sara have lived in the USA and Guatemala and had been planning to move to New Zealand or Australia, preferably New Zealand.

Now Aldo and his family are practicing Christians and had prayed to the big fella for a sign and guidance, as you may know Ellen and I are not religious but we believe in a higher power than humans as we are not the top of the chain in the universe, what is a higher power we d not know tho.

Anyway, after Aldo had helped us without a blink of an eye then we sat down and he asked so where are you from?, ....New Zealand ..... next thing silence (hard to photograph that) and the conversation sparked up all about New Zealand as he wants his two girls to go Medical School there.

We helped him with a monumental amount of information only known by locals so to say they were over the moon would be and understatement.

In a funny kinda international way where people meet from across the world with a bunch of mutual help it does make the mind think how do these incredible events happen.

On a side note and nothing to do with any of this ... yes they do exist, see the engine case name .

There are massive shops here too as it is a duty free zone, they did not have my colour

Motos that I can stand over, Wagners mum, she was really cool

Ponto Pora, funny wee town split by a border that does not exist so you can roam freely to either country, golden hearted people .....

Corumba To Ponta Pora

Welcome to Brasil, the border crossing easy and painless, in fact even enjoyable.

With no TVIP required we were in and welcomed..... what an incredible change just a few meters makes from their neighbours.

Getting our feet on the ground we took to the streets exploring the new territory and seeing what our new currency wouldn't buy us knowing that Brasil is expensive, we also purchased a pipa string cutter (kite string cutters as they like to dog fight with motorists)

As evening claimed the last of day we watched the sun go down over Bolivia for the final time ....kinda relieved feeling came with it.

A local bird sat and watched us with a welcoming chirp

Our first day into Brasil was very hot as we made our way to Bonito, arriving at Bonito we set up per usual, that night the skies erupted with a lighting display and thunderstorm that put all previous storms to shame, as it turned out this was to be the beginning of what turned into a cold and wet week.

The road side was a huge wash of thousands of hectares of swamp and waterlands

After three nights of waiting out rain, fog and thunderstorms we set off toward Bela Vista as all the clear water attractions had turned brown so that was that, these pics are what we should have seen.

This is a crackup, Brasils on version of Red Bull ... yes Red Horse

Bonito is famous for its fish and clear waters, they are featured in the main square

Paraguay was in our sights to pick up our new stator as the Bolivian rewind of the rewind was dying so down to Bela Vista was the choice and it was cold and wet, arriving there at the border wee were told there was no immigration there and we needed to go 130 km south east to Ponta Pora.

Tanking up we hit it to Ponta Pora, the weather caving in soaking us in rain and thick fog which bought the temperature down to 6 degs.

On arriving at Ponta Pora we were shoved from pillar to post trying to find immigration to clock out of Brasil, finally the police where the ones to give us an exit stamp, off to the Paraguay side we found customs, they said we needed immigration first so we then found the immigration building and two fat ugly ladies who couldn't be bothered with us...felt like Bolivia again

Now, we read on an internet site we did not need a VISA for Brasil or Paraguay however the two fat ladies insisted we needed VISA and were laughing at us saying we had to go to Iguassu Falls to apply, they took pride in being bitches despite our polite approach to asking for help.

Realizing they were not going to help, it was late in the day, we were wet, we were cold and we had had enough we decided to can it, find a hostal, bunk down for the night and forge Plan B

Finding a hostal with a hot shower, parking and wifi saw us settle in, warm up and breath and allow us to find out our options

It was not looking good with our stator on the other side of the country.....

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Bolivia Sum Up And The Heart Speaks

It is that time where I speak my mind on events that have unfolded, good, bad and all, no sugar coatings.

Bolivia ......Deceit, Robbery, lies, distrust, arguments, more lies, bullshit, wrong doings, these are the good days, Bolivia is not for us.

All the time there are riots, blockades, strikes and other stupid bullshit, these guys really want to do nothing and get paid for it with expectations that everyone else will support them. I have to say without being a whinger that Bolivia really fucked me off and while I respect their culture I DO NOT respect them for being lazy bastids and everything is someone else's fault and I certainly DO NOT respect someone that disrespects us blatantly and for no prior reason.

Never have I felt so much anger each day in one country.

In Bolivia there is a whole lot of not a lot happening and until they pull their head out of their arse and wake up they will remain in the same predicament, their wonderful corrupt government slowing sinking the place into a big hole along with corrupt everything in which you deal with daily.

They insistently want all the westy toys but have no want to earn it but to have it handed to them, they want foreign money but will not serve you at petrol stations and when they do they want you pay 3 x the price, for a country trying to move forward supposedly they are seriously heading backwards with their attitude.

Everything and I mean everything there is an issue and just needlessly hard work and 99% of the time involves pissed off long faced Bolivianos not wanting to serve you, I have to admit I struggled with the place given it is (was) the country of most interest to me.

Since Ellens robbery and beating I have gone very dark on the Bolivianos as this was pretty much the last straw and I had revenge on my mind for everything we did so anyone who tried anything against us got the full blast of "get fucked", not a nice way to travel but when a country backs you into a corner of this amount of crap then that is the game.

Some good, we saw one girl in Sucre who smiled, we caught that picture, she is beautiful and has a beautiful smile, she made our day.

In a small town called Morochata we found two more girls that smile, actually the whole town was friendly which was so unBolivia, although shy they were interested and yes I had my picture taken so that was three smiling people we found in total.

Indigenous people in the higher land seem to be the main contenders for anti white faces and they have no bones about sticking it to you, we then adapted and pulled that attitude too, in Santa Cruz they tried to charge us $50 Bolivianos to park our two motos for 15 hours, the going rate was $30 Bolivianos for a day.

When it came time to pay a different guy was there and we told him we had been quoted $25 Bolivianos for two bikes and he was not sure so I just reinforced it with a raised voice and he agreed, now if they had been normal and charged us the $15 Bolivianos it should have been they would have been better off so I just stick it back to them with no qualms given they start the game of screw the white face.

While Bolivia has some nice parts they are few and far between and at least for us the amount of bullshit and torment you have to go through to get there we believe all of their neighbours backs yards are superior, easier to travel and you can actually enjoy the people which forms a huge part of the trip.

Sorry for the non shiny report but being a Kiwi is my downside as I say it like it is and don’t try and sugar coat shit.

The Heart Speaks

Related vary much to the above but after Ellen was robbed and beaten I really wanted to damage someone, if I had found the robbers it would have been pretty bad for them, most probably I would have served some time too.

The anger I had inside is something I had not felt before and I was having serious thoughts in my mind as to the way I felt, I had doubts that I could contain myself if presented in a shitty situation which seemed to be on a daily basis.

For some strange reason we were not double crossed for a couple of days which left some essential cool down time for me.

When someone you love gets attacked and injured it places your (my) heart on defense mode and I would stand to the death, it came to a slight head when we struck the blockades, we went through and the fat lady nearly became traction only her arse was too be to be fast enough, that was her saving grace.

I hated that aspect of feeling the way I did but it was brewed and made in Bolivia by Bolivians.

To finish, without sounding racist (which we faced everyday towards us, my white face particularly) the main problems we had (baring the fuckwits in the petrol stations) were in the higher land with the indigenous people, once down in the amazonas and the peoples colour changed so did their attitudes and all for the better.

So not to offend anyone, my general sumup of Bolivia is fuck it and fuck them, go to the neighboring back yards where you will be treated normally and more fairly and sometimes even outstandingly.

While Bolivia was not a total waste of time I would not set foot there again, to me it went from the place of most interest to a shithole full of neanderthals who don't give a shit, if there is such thing as 4th world they are heading there.

Now to Brasil ... onward and definitely upwards