There you have it. "Death Road" completed. To be honest its not scary at all. The road is wide enough and not busy. There's worse tracks in Morocco....much worse and much more scary although not a beautiful.
The start turn of the death road is just after KM54 on the main road and if you make it to the bottom you have to pay the toll of 25 BOL per person. We're not sure if this is a rip off or not...we got a ticket each. If you want to venture into the town at the end of the road there's a congestion charge of 5 BOL. It not worth going in unless you need something like a coffee to calm the nerves...LMAO. The town is a dead end so you need to return to the end of the death road to get the main highway. We overheated on the way back even though I've just changed the coolant so that's not the problem.
Hope you like the photos. There's a few from this amazing country which is ranked in the top three from our trip, it maybe NUMBER 1 !! The scenery is amazing. The pricing is amazing and we could stay here for months....oh wait....we are. Those of you in the UK get ready for the shipping festival. We are ordering parts probably whilst we wait for our American B2 visa to arrive which we are hopefully applying for here in La Paz. Currently staying in Oberland Hotel in their camping for £10 oer night which is expensive but there's more overlanders here and its safe. Its not quiet though as the dogs next-door; we think they have a kennel, start as dusk and go on most of the night.
The road from Sucre to Samaipata (Che Guervera route) is amazing but muddy so those on bikes think long and hard. There are ways past the mud but if you drop your bike you're in trouble and in the mud.
If we stay here waiting for parts (and stuff like new short trousers!) much work will be done on the car. All of it maintenance and not fixing so it all depends on costs if it gets done. We can get a few things here for the car but somethings they do not have the parts and these leaks and bangs are becoming annoying and I want to fix them. I can't get a seal for my rocker cover and it now on its third attempt at sealing it with RTV.
Julies tooth ache is gone and we are now brushing our teeth every day thanks to being able to charge the electric toothbrush. Manual toothbrush is only on standby. My beard has been cut again as we went to the USA embassy but they wouldn't let us in unless we make an interview. I even put a shirt on ! The B2 visa is $160usd each.
The other day we stayed in Cochabamba, a medium sized town spread over a large area. We stayed in a cheap hostel in the centre as they had parking. It was only 100BOL for the hostel which is about £10. The Wi-Fi didn't work but no problem for one night. We left at around 10:30 the next day to find the town devoid of traffic and only people and bikes. It was a Sunday. We though this strange and since we were in the centre we carried on very slowly avoiding people and children in the middle of the road. There were no cars anywhere!
First policeman stopped up and this set the trend for the next 3 hours....we traveled at 10kmph with bikes overtaking us and got stopped by every policeman at every junction almost. Eventually all sent us on our way.....except the last one. After maybe 20km and 2 hours we got a nasty one and he told me to stop, took my license and drove off. I ignored him and drove off immediately he was moving after he thought we'd given up. I was about 5 meters behind him. He turned and went away. Julie was worried I'd get arrested. I wasn't. What would he arrest me for ! Driving on a road. So we carried on and eventually a police bike caught up to us. She had my license and gave it back. We got an escort out of town for the next 6km. This is an area the size of Sheffield with every street devoid of cars. No cars allowed. How were we to leave ? Anyhow we did leave and I didn't get arrested but made a policemen VERY angry. I got my fake license back and mostly the police we understanding and helpful. Its the only day in the year they do this. We were unlucky. My stress levels were peaking as every person we passed and every policeman was giving us "the eye" for three hours.
Later that day we needed fuel. Theres a strange rule in Bolivia where we are not allowed to buy fuel at the standard price. Its three times the price for us. On this occasion nobody would actually sell it to us. We'd heard about this. So after 10 or so gas stations we found one that not only sold it to us but at the locals price. We tipped him 35BOL for the 100 litres we purchased and saved about 500BOL in the process. 500BOL is £50 as its about 10 to 1. We were close to braking point. It was late when we arrived in La Paz and the traffic was terrible.
We'd had a really bad day.....
Julies recent double trouble with her cut to the hand and toothache have turned out fine. The hand in healing and the toothache is gone thanks to the Antibiotics. We are going to try missing the next pain medication dose and just take the antibiotic to make sure theres no pain left. The anti-inflamatory properties of the pain meds will have to go as well. We see the Dentist in the morning at 10am to see what he thinks. We don't really want to let him start drilling if its only an infection. We are heading towards La Paz so if it gets bad again there will be lots of Dentists to choose from. The Dentist here seemed to want to re-do all of Julies crown in here only bad tooth. The tooth is almost gone and she's "more machine than man" on that tooth to quote Star wars.
Anyhow, yesterday two other car turned up at the campsite so we have some Kiwi's and some swiss to play with. We drank until early last night and tonight we are having a BBQ. Been to the market to get some meat and stuff. We do need a booze run sometime soon as we will run out sometime for sure. We have £3 of steak which equates to 1Kg. Why isn't everywhere as cheap as here?
We laughed reading Hennigs Blog about his toilet escapades. I recommend you read the last couple of days at http://www.oneworldonejourney.com/
I need to watch out he may get more readers than me. Funny.
The web site for the Kiwi's is Kiwi Panamerica not that they have posted much. They bought a car in Chile and kitted it out using a penknife and some brain power. So far its not gone well. They've have a few flats and the radiator is knackered. They spent less on the car than we did on shipping....well almost. All fun and games and part of the adventure. To be honest I'd rather not have those fun parts in our trip....So Matilda if you're reading this please stay well behaved. Cheers.
Bolivia is lovley, cheap and nice. The people are great. We've even got a lady in the Sucre Central market who is now Julies best freind as we've got our veg there three days running.
We've managed to get me some peanuts, we'd been trying for three days but the stall was closed because of Easter. The Market is super !!! Theres 17 Juice stalls to get a smoothy. (17 !!!!) We got the "all in" one for £1 and got two glasses. We didn't know but you finish the glass and you get the rest of what they've made for free. So two glasses. The normal smoothy is ony 40p and again two glasses. Thankfull a travelling American told us the protocol about free re-fills. He should know, as everything is free re-fill in America. The Kiwis had given him a lift so he was shopping with us and may come to the BBQ.
Last night in a shower of sparks the transformer at the end of the road exploded and the lights went out of course....something exciting and I saw the entire thing happen. Some lightsticks were brought into service for the first time. We've been carrying them for 17 months....they take up space so i'm glad to be rid of them. We still have a few in the emergency kit. Much alcohol was drunk and so were we.
We will miss Bolivia when we leave. So far we've had a great time here. Few more weeks yet though and some (mild we hope) adventures to come on the road of death and La Paz at the overlanders camp. Bill and Rosemary are there with a knackered clutch and are wating for parts from the UK.
Julie has a (mother of all) toothache and has had it for a few days. She can't sleep due to the pain and of course its a holiday weekend. Luckily the owners of the campsite know people and got one to open so she's been checked out and the "Dr." says its an infection. So we have some horse tablets and some bigger pain killers. I was dosing her with Ibuprofen, Paracetamol and Amoxcillin which as it turns out is right on the money. I guessed the infection was not cavity but for some reason the Doc want to drill for oil on Tuesday. She's currently trying to get some sleep. We've "borrowed" some Valium off the owner for tonight. So, we are here for another few days at least. Its a nice little place and we have it all to ourselves so its no bad thing. We can walk into town as its very near. Julies off the drink due to both drugs and especially the Valium.
You can see from the photos that my repair of Julies hand went well....I doubt it will leave much of a scar after the pink goes.
We met our first overlanders for ages in Uyuni and theres a photo of their self built truck below. Pretty amazing what you can do with an old army flat bed Iveco.
We went and messed around on the salt flats. We got Matilda a bit salty so she needed a wash. The pressure washer from hell managed to soak inside and blow a hole in my exhaust. We will be getting this welded again tomorrow.
Tonight we stay at a campsite in Sucre which is basically someones front garden but they don't live here anymore so we have the place to ourselves. If you're looking for somewhere to stay in Sucre this is the place and the pin is on out map for today.
Since my last post we've stayed in an Hotel....Again ! and had a feeble attempt by the police at a bribe of 5BOL.....about 50p. I've given up on arguing and we just drive off. In fact I just drive off at the slightest bit of lunacy at checkpoints. If they want to follow and stop us then they can learn to speak English ! They look at my fake driving licence like they know what it is, which they don't. They then usually asking for something else like the vehicle documents which they also don't know how to read or what it should look like. I Just drive off if given half a chance.
We had some fun at the Salt Flats.....a must see. Seen one seen them all is almost the rule but this one is more fun. Its ashame you can see the mountains at the edge, otherwise it would look bigger. You can drive anywhere but we'd not recommend it....some places are wet and soft.
Julie drove 58km.....its pretty hard seeing where you are going and seriously unless you have a GPS you'd be lost in a second. You don't drive in a straight line unless you REALLY try hard. You think you're pulling right and you're not....the GPS trace shows whats really happening. It would be so easy to get seriously in trouble even following the tracks.
There we were driving round town in Tarija and a policeman jumps out and asks for the driving licence of the "conductor" (driver in English). He's at Julies side of the car as always. I hand my licence to Julie and she hands it to him. He then asks for Julies licence not mine and is rather insistant and looks like he's becoming a bit angry. We are both confused, he wants Julies licence!
Julie points at the dash and the lack of steering wheel. He's still not getting it.....I then say in Spanish that I'm the "conductor" and bang on the wheel. So now he's on the same page....he tells us to be on our way.....red faced. He probably stopped us when he saw Julie not driving safely....probably fiddling with the sat-nav. Since she wasn't driving in the first place I think he must have felt like a right numpty.
The police arn't the most observant here....it normallly takes them at least a minute to realise they are on the wrong side of the car. Julies frantic waving in the free space inbetween her and the windscreen does little to encourage them to actually look at who we are and what we are driving. Only once in Paraguay have they come directly to my side of the car and this was in an attempt to say we were illegally driving. We had all the paperwork.....now go away Mr. Policeman.
Some Photos...We do sleep in the weirdest places under a bridge.
Korean food....Bolivian Style.
My overheating Engine. Yes that Celsius on the manifold
So there we were.....surrounded. Six of them.....we were in trouble....They pulled up in there car and lept out.....We'd only just woken and I was still half asleep. We were sleeping in a petrol station....oh golly.....
But we wern't that worried as they are Jehovah Witnesses. I got my copy of Awake in English and turned down Watchtower. Strangely its mostly about Immigration so someone must have known I was getting it....Apologies we cannot remember all their names. I can't remember any as I rely on Julie for that !
All of them are German (I think) or most of them are German. Anyhow we had a long chat and got moving on the terrible road to the Bolivian border. We enjoyed Paraguay for the few days we were there. People were nice and the Bolivian's are heading in the same direction.
We had lunch in a street cafe today and everything is fine so far with everyone we met. There are way to many check points near the border though. We missed The Bolivian Customs and had to go back 8km....no big problem. Second time we missed the gate so to speak on the trip. There might be more. We also met some English Backpackers in town looking for a cash machine. Its not working due to "communications error", we tried it but don't thing they found it on foot.
Tonight we are staying in a Hotel....After I repaired the shower as it was just catching fire due to wiring (as always). A reader of the blog will understand this as he got electrocuted. We had a shower after I crimped the wiring. Julie stood by the switch as always (after the advice from the electrocuted traveller). I cut my hair and had a shave. We charged the drill batteries finally !!!!! Bolivia is 240v thankfully.
Matilda has a new clunk and it maybe brakes. We shall see when we get to the long descent on the road of death....fingers crossed.....(Mother is now worried and maybe father too)...I have faith in my mechanical skills otherwise i'd not have set off. Don't worry.
The tarmac road.....
Hair by a Guy called Neill....Wahl clippers at 240volts....Warp 9
The Gringo Mstash.....not allowed....
Our 500th day passed and we're leaving Brasil for the final time. We've met some nice people here of the last few days. It must be the area. They've looked after us well and we've had a party. Thanks to the Bikers Hostel in Iguacu we are ready for the next part of our trip.
Did I mention we went to the dam...
Very loud and pretty big. They say its the biggest in the world....The China High Dam begs to differ.
We even got to go in to see the spinning whatsit.....VERY LOUD !!!
We are now in Paaguay and it was the longest border exit from Brasil ever. 2 hours or more. The lady was busy. She did apologise in English so we will let them off. Paraguay was difficult. You need to go up the hill to the right of the border gates. Go immediatly through and hang a right up to the car park then into the office block. We were guided by a young lad tasked to get us to the correct office and they wanted to see the Brasil exit paperwork!
Here we are in Foz do Iguacu Motorcyles Travellers Hostel. We are meant to be resting but we've been the see the falls (Argentina Side) and yes its better than Victoria Falls. The views are much better and its just better to look at. You don't get as wet which is one downside as you don't "feel the falls".
Also we went out to Rodolfo's (sort of manager of the place) parents house to meet them and have a coffee. On the way back my headlight were not working. So this started as few days of diagnostics. Found three separate problems !!!
They are all fixed or patched. Risk of fire....moderate...
At the biker place we met Phil, Werner and Claudia who we'd met in Ushuaia. Werner and Claudia are well known on the Hubb and "Slowphil" has also been around a bit. We shall see Phil again in Canada as he's going home next week having used all his wifes "travelling allowance".
Not much to report as all we do it drive....
We're on our way to the Falls at Iguacu and according to the web theres an overland biker camp or something like that. This is what we are pinning our hopes on. We also are pinning them on the weather being good and a supermarket close by that sells alcohol !
BTW we are in a Mcdonalds. We have had a burger and as always wish we hadn't. It was just the Burger ("solo" as they say here). Why can't Mcdonalds get the burgers anywhere near as nice as Burger King.....maybe its the high percentage of horse meat....you see we are sort of following the UK news !
We've received a few messages via Sat Phone now and a follow up mail from the pioneer. Normally its Dad who sends messages to the phone with usefull info on where we can get free Wi-Fi. This time the advice was good but we're not in the correct town as Dad suggested. Unlocked Mcdonalds Wi-Fi at its best and a Burger at its worst.....well almost. The world record for that was the one we had at 2am in Rio on the road back from the Samba-drome. Now that wasn't beef for sure. I'm not even sure the meat was from an animal.
Matilda needs and oil change tomorrow. Coke bottles saved up to get rid of it and thanks to Mike we have and easy time with the "DrainPlug" adapter he suggested we buy before setting off. No hot oil down my arm! As Mike will remember you must remember to bring the pipe and disconnect it again when refilling ! Two mistakes on two separate occasions and a pool of oil on his drive for the latter....
I just wish he'd advised me to buy a Land Cruiser......only kidding.
Anyhow once we've been to the falls its North for us all the way. Not sure there are any more Southern detours we need to do. Its all North I think. We will be skipping through Paraguay and then eventaully to the tourist mecca's in Peru.
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....
Get notifications of new Blog Entries by filling in the box below. No risk.