What to say about Brasil. Apologies to the few nice people we have met but in the main we do not like it here. The only redemption was Carnival where they certainly know how to party. We've met a couple of nice folk along the way but in the main we are meeting normal Brasilians and they are not giving us a warm and happy feeling. Some do, most do not.
We've now made a judgement on the driving. They are the worst drivers in the world. We've seen numerous accidents and evidence of the poor driving. One dead guy in the middle of the road. Seriously its the worse standard of driving in the world. They speed terribly and ignore all signs except the ones that say speed camera. Maybe its this that is clouding our judgement of the population and country but this is what we see day in day out. We rarely meet any more people other than in service stations, truck stops and restaurants. We did meet a few very welcoming campers in the camp site we stayed in the other night.
One another thing is they have very poor internet. Its worse here than Africa. Everythig is locked up and as with the way of things now everyone is paranoid about giving away internet. Its also seriously expensive to get a paid hotspot. Not that we can use them anyhow as its all in Portugese. I thought we were in a modern country?
Back to the driving....the other day a lorry nearly ran me off the road overtaking on double yellow lines in the middle of the road. Of course he was speeding as well. A little later we got followed by the police and I could tell he was itching to give me a ticket. As I'm driving normally he gave up and went on his way. A little further up the road we see him issuing a ticket. So there he is behind us again. The funny thing is we'd nearly caught up the speeding lorry that cut us up earlier. He was stuck behind a slower lorry going up a hill complete with the double yellow lines. He makes his move and cuts up the lorry forcing an oncoming car onto the hard shoulder. Exactly what he did to us. Unfortunatly this is a common manover. The police went after him and about 5 mins later we see him getting a ticket. I give the police the thumbs up and point at the lorry and make another gesture all together. The policeman was smiling.....
Matildas exhaust back box fell off but not quite into the road. It was dangling on its rubber mount. I noticed the engine had sounded funny a lower revs....so thats what the sound was !! We got it welded up in a back street garage for $25usd. He did an OK job and took his time. Not sure how long it will last though.
The other day my "rear clunk" got very loud and I was very worried. We stopped at a campsite (only the 9th night out of 71 in campsites) in Salvador hoping we would stay for a week but it wasn't up to much so we stayed one night. To be honest the truck stops are better and they are free ! Anyhow,,,clunk was the rear drive flanges which we changed in Pretoria with the shafts. One flange was almost completely stripped (and dry of grease !!!) and the other was badly damanged. It came on so quick. I was amazed it went from nothing to very bad in a day. No idea why. I've used my only two drive flanges and now need some more. The previous ones lasted 24311 miles and went just like that. I greased them only a few weeks before. The only thing I've changed is I made some brackets to stop my half shafts floating out and pushing off my hub caps. Could the shaft be fouling in the diff.....I REALLY hope not.....
We are trying to find somewhere to take a break. Not found anywhere even vaguely suitable. Maybe at the falls. I need to do oil change again and check out the rear diff....
I also want to moan about the supermarkets. It takes four times longer to check out than it does to shop. The queues are terrible all the time. The people just dump their trollies anywhere.....They drive trollies like they,,,,,drive. I'm sure Wal-Mart don't know what goes off here....
One saving grace is the truck stops. Especially some of the Shell ones. They are just superb. The toilets are super clean and the showers are mainly free. Well done Shell !!!! No quite the standard overall of Copec in Chile but they are good. Most of the proper truck stops have laundry which is washed and dried in 2 hours. The detergent smells like industrial acid but the clothes were clean. Even my jogging bottoms/overalls were spotless !
We managed to wash the bedding by hand at the campsite. Happy Birthday !
To the folks from the campsite.....thanks for the warm welcome.
Really hard to find Wi-Fi here.
Firstly a flannel was stolen from the bonnet whilst drying then one of the stickers off the rear door. Some little shitty kids stole Malawi. Little fcukers!! It cannot be replaced easily and it involves a print shop and a lot of money to get a new set made. We might find somewhere in Paraguay for cheap like we did in Uganda.
The Black and Decker Inverter stopped working and it looks like the heat got to it. We managed to get another 110V (only 300w) version in a car audio place. It was £75 which is damn expensive. At least we can now charge the laptop. The drill and dremel however cannot be charged (no hair trimmer either) and I need to charge both ! Need to make a new bracket for the gas bottle. So its hand saw time and trying to drill a hole by holding a drill. We might find a garage willing to help.
I also need to get some more brackets made to stop my hub caps popping off. The ones I made in a car park in Chile are not up to the job. According to some Paraguay is the place to get stuff done.
Julie broke to map but its now fixed.
Yesterday I asked my Dad if he'd got the car I sent via DHL on the 24th Decemeber. He had not. Today it arrived. Amazing.
DHL usually don't take so long but they now have a black mark against them. I think nearly 2 months to deliver a letter is a bit rough.
I'm dumping some more photos in the photo section. Might as well since we have the bandwidth. The ones of the point white canvas tent thing are actually the marina where we are staying.
We went looking for shorts....not found any,,,, so I've zipped the legs off my walking trousers. I've not resorted to wearing the zipped off bits on my head yet.....thats was reserved for Mr. J. Clarkson on his Boliva trip when he stole Mr. R. Hammonds "legs". A must see Top Gear special. Available on YouTube...or at least it was.
Another hot sweaty day tramping round the sights.
On a more serious note my backup shorts have nearly had it....what will I do !!!!!????? The reserve-backup-emergency pair are in the UK......I can feel a DHL care package coming on.....
Julies hair is getting long and thats just the ones on here legs.....I had a shave and Julie nicked another razor. Julies hair (on her head) is long and not falling out as much (as it was) due to us increasing her medication. A trick I recommended and the ever knowing Doctors in the UK said would not work. Well if you read this Miss Doctor....you know less than the Specialists in the USA. This is why they are Specialists and your a GP....If you'd listened to the other stuff I told you it might have solved the hair problem all together !
I'm sorry but the internet knows more than most people can ever know. Used wisely its the font of all knowledge.
We are so impressed by the system to get you up to "Christ" you can see the amazement in the picture.....(3 hours to kill to get our booked train, you can't just turn up....) It was nearly as good (bad) as the film.....
The pissing on the fence continued for the entire day(s). Sometimes there were many more involved and even ladies...we were sat at the back of the car and they'd roll up and piss about 2 meters from us having a beer....lovely. After all its Carnival so anything goes. The police did draw the line at the sex happening in the corner near Matilda and demonstrated his Taser.....however he didn't Taser them properly only made the Taser "light up" and make the unique sound. If you'd like to see Tasers in action on YouTube theres plenty of videos and even the places the police may have Tasered the couple in question!
Christ it was very busy......
So the noise and mayhem continued for one more day and then today on Wednesday it was all over. The crowds outside the car park where we are camping are gone and the road is open. The noise on the Rave Club may not happen tonight, fingers crossed. Last night there were two clubs in competition and considering the other was well over a kilometer away on the other side of the marina it was hard to tell which was loudest. I know the other went on way past 6am and our neighbour till only 6:15am. The vodka helped drown out the noise.....
It was, as the comments say, been an experience and truely and honestly if you want to come somewhere to get drunk for five days and have the party of your life then this is the place to come. If only I were younger and not as mature ! It may look like we had a blast but compared the the younglings we didn't even try.....
Now we start the sight seeing. We've not been to any of the sights yet.
Happy Birthday Brother.
Matilda passed 250,000 Miles or 400,000 Km to the Euros.
Massive dump of random photos here.
Don't Blame it on Rio is not Michael Caines finest film but I like it all the same....today it would be banned by the censors as he has a "fling" with his buddies (teenage?) daughter. Its more like she has a fling with him. Anyhow....
Its a very long time since we've had Wi-Fi properly and this is now only because we are staying in the Marina and they have free Wi-Fi. Our guide book says they have camping. They do not....The manager relented and let us stay in the car park. Thanks Mr. Manager. Trouble with the location is they have a Disco and it goes on till 5am. Its VERY loud! When I say Disco I mean Rave/Night Club/Ministry of Sound. Jessica would love it.
So back on the 27th Jan we were on Mendoza and we stayed in the park. Another OK choice but they had a free concert on and it was noisy. We slept right on the main road in and had a pretty good nights sleep actually. Mendoza is OK but as one other traveller put it "its like Milton Keynes". Its not really like Milton Keynes at all but its a town based on a grid pattern and although the park is nice theres little more going on other than wine and bars.
More our "cup of tea" is the camp on the side of a reservoir and although the car park was busy with people coming and going to the view point its was quiet and we managed to get some rest. We've been driving a long way recently and the rush to the south, then to the north and now across to Rio we need some good nights rest now and again.
On the way up to the border back into Chile we were a bit worried we would not be allowed in again and when we got there I got sent to the office. A truely buttock clenching time as we thought we'd been rumbled. We hadn't,,,, and they just didn't know how to process the car at the little huts. We needed a print out and the printer was in the office. We also found out the border is one way for 12 hours and the other way for the other 12 hours. We luckily arrived at the Argentina - Chile direction at the correct times. We were so forewarned for the return unlike other people we met who truned up Chile - Argentina with 10 hours to wait !
No overheating this time but we got stuck behind slow trucks on the decent and it took well over an hour to decent into Chile and a night in a small town called Los Andes. Another night next to a noisy Fun Park but we're almost used to the noise now. Julie almost sleeps through anything....!
Arriving at Val Pariso we were impressed by the place. Its not often I like Sea Side...but this place is OK. However the Land Rover dealer didn't have what we needed. He did however give me name of the dealer in Santiago who also didn't have the parts.
The Land Rover dealer in Medoza did give me metal so I could make so temporary retaining clips for my hub caps. My half shafts are floating a bit too far out....So we failed at three Land Rover dealers.....do any of them have parts for a Land Rover....probably not.
Another night in a proper truck stop on the way to Santiago. Free showers and pretty nice. I tipped the shower guy. We'd been told that Santiago would have everything for the car. They do not. They in fact had nothing at all. I could get stuff made for a price but we're not desperate. Some good malls in Santiago but having seen one you've seen them all. Its just nice to wander around knowing the car was safe as the security guard was really interested and spoke a little English which was nice. He'd done a trip round South Amercia when he was younger on a bike. We like the people of Chile but you still get a few idiots who open their car doors into the side of Matilda when we are clearly sitting inside !
After Santiago and the price of tolls we decided to leave and go back to Los Andes. Thinking we could do it back to Medoza in one day we had to go to the border late as this direction was only open at night. We camped in Los Andes in the same place as before. We descided to stay one night and the next day I got the oil changed in the Axles and Transfer Box. They were slightly overdue on my reduced interval schedule. It was a really good price and the place we used was really professional. With little English spoken they did everything I asked and let me check everything. I watched them every step of the way and they even showed me they'd filled everything up properly to the filler plugs. The oil was Esso branded EP80/90 GL5 out of a big barrel. Priced per litre which included the labour. Why isn't it like this in the UK. Here, you buy the oil and they fill the car with it for free !
This is becoming a long post.......or it might be already.....
Whilst we were squatting in Los Andes we met an overland bus with 10 or so guests. They were on their way to the border but didn't know it was timed. They had a lond wait. I advised them that the queue was long when we came in and with that they left to get a place in line. I wasn't sure if they would have to wait with the trucks and that line was REALLY REALLY long. As it turned out they were allowed in the car line and were only 12 cars in front of us. Luckily we were also allowed in the car line and at 7pm we were allowed through and because of the busses we had a slow accent to the pass at the top. Because it was slow the 30 hair pin turns and steep accent was no trouble for Matilda. Her new Transfer Box oil getting properly cooked on the first day.....not good.
On the way down the other side and after hours of queues at the immigration and customs we again got sent to the office for the printer. This was a little more confused than before and we slept halfway down at the winter Ski Resort. The coolest night we've had in a long time. Wonderful but not quiet. The amazing thing was they used to have a train line up the pass. Its still there in parts and the bridges look new although they are not. We wondered if they maintain them just incase.....
Another rescue helping a guy in a car get towed out when they snapped the tow rope. How or why his car was where it was is anybodies guess.
Having calculated the distance we needed to travel to get to Rio we were panicing a little. Well, I was....I worked out we had about 700km to do each day. In real money thats 430miles each day for about a week. From now on it was truck stops and road side accomodations. Not that its much different than where we stay normally its just the distances and the temperature had gone up. My old ailment from sitting too long had re-occurred. You know what I mean....last time I had one was Morrocco. The humidity was getting a little too much but with no aircon what can we do. My shorts hve salt rings on the rear....
We briefly stayed on Montevideo and visited the Frey Bentos factory in Frey Bentos of course. We liked Montevideo and even got a free barge across the river to the north. Its not often we get free stuff but it makes a Yorkshireman very happy.
When we arrived at the Brasil border we drove right past it and had to return. We also ran our of fuel as we'd not filled up in Uruguay as it was so expensive. We used almost both Jerry cans and filled up in the very first station in Brazil. Saving quite a bit. We think we saved about £40 on the fill up. The border town where we cossed is in both countries and you can cross freely. Its only if you go further that you need to do immigration. The first toll was a bit of a problem as we had no money for Brasil.....50km detour to get cash and we had to reverse out of the toll gate. Many cars were moved to get us out. Some banks have only one machine that takes foreign cards. The others don't work. Luckily the guard pointed Julie at the correct machine the second time.
After we arrived in Brasil it was just a mammoth drive to Rio. We discovered the roadside buffets and rather than eat at night we had lunch in Buffets. Rtaher nice. The tolls are expensive here and cost us about £12 per day. We met a few nice Brazillian people and had lots of photos taken of the car. Most of them whilst they were driving and one of them whilst riding his motorbike with no hands ! The driving standard is VERY poor and we saw two accidents on one black spot hill accent. We don't know how many speeding offences we committed as normally we travel with the flow and since they do not slow for anything we may have clocked a few cameras....The speed limits fluctuate wildly and change every 100 meters with no repeater signs even on the longer sections. I had a hard time knowing what the speed is was most of the time. We stayed under 90 as always but the speed limits are seemingly randomly 60 kmh. Lets see what happens when we leave....
Rio parked in the Tucan Overland Bus park really near Gloria Marina is R25 per 24 hours and he charges R5 for the shower. This is a bit of a rip off. We've moved the the Marina where its free and free. Both locations are good apart from the noise of the "rave club" which is inside the Marina Complex in the open air under the fancy canvas roof.
Carnival is madness. We really enjoyed the show in the "Sambadrome" and although it was R60 each we thought it was worth it. We were not going to go but we are glad we did. Thats only $30usd each. So £20. The floats are massive the dancing is madness and thats the organised part. The drinking, dancing and madness outside is a sight to behold. I've not seen so much urine flowing in the street since the "Christmas on Earth Festival" in Leeds. The rubbish and cans was everwhere. The local can collectors must make a fortune. The bulk of the photos are here.
We've had our first SAT phone message from someone who saw us on the road in Uruguay. Thanks for the message...your a pioneer...Send us more in an Email. Are you English etc.? Its sounded like you were.
We've assisted in another rescue. More on that later.
We have had more photos take of the car whilst driving in Brasil than you can imagine. Everyone seems to slow to take photos. We try to help sometimes by matching the speed but sometimes its too dangerous.
Some Brasillian drivers need driving lessons and education in the art of giving way. Rather than speed into the gap I'm about to pull into they could just let me in ! I though some other countries were bad....this is the worse out of more than 20. So if you're reading Mr. Average Brasil....you're the worst drivers in the WORLD so far !!!! Even worse than taxis in Egypt !
We are both truely knackered from driving so far. Tomorrow we will be near Rio. We hopefully arrive Saturday in time for Sundays event.
Wi-Fi is hard to get here so far.....we are lucky we've hi-jacked this uplink for the phone company. Someone set the security wrong.....
A daft as this sounds we've not really got time for blogging.....rushing to Rio to see Mardi Gras.
Once and year so cannot miss it. After that we will SLOW the hell down....
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