We came to summer in argentina didn't we? Who would have thought this is their summer!
Anyhow, we came to the end of the Andies and not the one on the end of your armies! That one never gets old....or does it. You tell me. We were hoping to get into the National Park after gates closed and so we didn't have to pay. They've stopped that and now have a guy on the gate. We tried 8.30pm and 5:15am and ended up waiting till 7am until they opened and paid £26 to see the ice. Its one of the only non-receding glaciers in the world. Its still advancing. That shows you how bloody cold it is here even in summer! It was actually the best day we've had so far weather wise. We'd still rather be in Chile though and are liking Chile more than Argentina for some reason. We will keep going back and forth as we've not seen even a small percentage of either country yet and need to cross the border about 10 times in the next few weeks.
The place we are now used to have free camping and we are meant to be meeting a load of bikers here for new year. We also found another English Land Rover looking to do the same. Its seems the free campsite is no more and all we can fathom is that its because nobody was staying at the paid camping so they closed the free one to help the local campsites. Well knock we down with a feather.....of course everyone went to the free one. All they needed to do was charge reasonable rates in the pay ones and people will go to them. Free ones don't have hot showers or WiFi and pay ones do (sometimes on the WiFi part) so if they charge under fiver people will go. Problem is they charge over a fiver usually and sometimes much much more. I've been through this many times about rip off campsites....We have now found a free place to camp next to the Tourist Info place exactly where the old free camp was. Figure that one out. Problem is they don't allow tents we think, only motor homes. Matilda is a Motor Home ! She's getting big headed.
We went to one of the pay for campsites and there is still nobody there and no staff to tell us how much it was. So thats just great ! Close the free ones and have vacent pay ones. The bikers will have fun.....
So here we are at 14 months....Started the trip north on the anniversary of the trip. So how long to get to the very north I wonder. Theres talk of running out of money and buying a Dodge van....We talk a lot of rubbish sometimes. We are looking with envy at the huge Dodge vans rolling round Chile.
Some bikers we met. The photos of the rainbow were at about 10pm !!! The ones of the car from the drivers seat at 10:30 !!! Now thats got to be lighter than the UK in summer ?
One roast beef joint cooked to perfection later and its all over. Merry Christmas to all those we may have missed on our mail shot. Some of you have neglected to give us your Email addresses either deliberately or not. So its your own fault for us missing you out. Anyhow. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
We've spent a few days at the "end of the world" here in Argentina and tomorrow we move on to another party for New Years. Not sure when we will get Wi-Fi again but its looks like the Wi-Fi in the Petrol Stations is pretty common so you never know. We're on the lookout for a new phone in Chile on the way so we might get 3G access again.
The other day on our way to Ushuaia we saw an overlander on rollerblades pushing a cart. I think he was Swedish due to the flags. We honked and he waved. He was about 45km from Ushuaia so we think it would have taken him at least another day to get here. Possibly he arrived today, who knows. I've searched the web a bit and cannot find a Sweedish blader but i didn't spend long searching. We also saw a lot of pedal cycles.
In other news it seems like the end of the world is running late, a Volcano has erupted just north of here and people have evacuated the area. This is quite near to where we will be driving. Lets see what happens. Possibly there is some errors in when the 13th Baktun ends....
The campsite is full of French, theres 13 of them. Theres a Rotel Motel bus with 18 guests and German driver, two Polish on an Africa Twin (tent), and English guy (tent) on a 650 and us. In this mix there are 3 Land Rovers including us. Lets say the French have taken over a leave it at that. One of them, of course, has an Azalia.
Henning will no doubt be laughing at the French invasion. If he's reading this he may also have realised he needs warm clothing !
I have dibs on the oven for Xmas Dinner and will be geting up at 8am to make sure i get it ! Roast Beef anyone....Hopefully they go out for dinner and leave me in peace in the kitchen. I doubt it very much. The over is, shall we say, old and has no guage of any type. My InfraRed thermometer will be used to test the temp. One of its many uses.....
We went into town yesterday and its rather like a ski village off season, which I suppose it is. There's a multitude of ski clothing shops selling all manner of expensive jackets made even more expensive because we are in Argentina. Tourists are of course buying them becuase they haven't brought enough luggage already (only a massive case full) and didn't plan for it being cold. We save one woman buying new walking boots not because she needed them but because she was on holiday. I wonder where she will put them fro the trip home in her already overfilled suitcase?
So for some of you it came and went and for some of us its still here. What am I on about? The 21st December 2012. The End of the World ?? Seems like it didn't happen.....or did it?
We are nearly at our destination. Somewhere not quite a far south as Doncaster is north. However what I can tell you is, its bloody freezing and its mid summer day on the 23rd we think. Check out the Map to see where we are.
We managed to get Ggas. Not the type that comes with poor digestion but the type for cooking. We managed to fill both bottles. Preparation in South Africa with all manner of adapters and valves paid off. They filled both bottles with Propane. We have more gas than we've had on the entire trip previous to this. I'm happy as I do not have to worry about it for another month and I also know they can be filled using standard South American connectors. We did try two places though.
We've met a few bikers and overlanders and theya re all on the path to Ushuaia for Xmas. We wonder what it will be like. Cold for one and busy with Gringo's for another. The weather is terrible. As my Dad pointed out we are blessed by the Gulf Stream in the UK and its much much warmer there ! We had hail yesterday and the wind is,,,windy. Imagine a chav coming here and saying its "well windy". Or even Jessica my niece saying it. Not that some of you know my niece but shes a bit like that. She doen't read the blog so will never know. She's not a chav but too much television and all that....
The journey to our current location (YPF Service Station in Rio Grande) was really strange. We had to leave Argentina with all the formalities that entails and enter Chile, again with all the paperwork for the car. We were in Chile for a few hours and back into Argentina and doing more paperwork. This is all pointless and they could just sort it out with a few politician's talking to each other. They could section off the entire area with single border formalities. They've got part of the way there with the border staff sharing the office but the fact that you have to sign out and in for a few kilometers is hysterical. They should come to Europe and see how it should be done. Its not like you can get to mainland Chile from this place. You have to go back into Argentina. Another example of the Xenophobic countries/governments of this world.
The Chile customs has some strict rules on food so we were careful to read all the stuff on the web. It wasn't as bad as we thought but they seem more bothered about Fruit , Veg and Jam. When they were asking for Jam I think they meant Honey. Cheese, It seems is OK but they asked for Eggs and also Meat. Theres a pretty good list on the web on the SAG website that you can translate. We eat all our eggs and veg in the days before and cooked the meat. The strangest item they wanted to know about was spices. We have all sorts of spices and they would have had to get the Chilli powder from my cold dead hand....they wern't having that. The food is Argentina is bland and not spicy. Even when you ask for extra-extra spicy its as hot as gravy. What I'd give for some birds eye chillis so the powder is priceless. How else would we make our Chilli Con-Carne.
Not taken many photos recently as to be honest there has been nothing to take photos of. The road from BA to here is 3200km of nothing. Its got to be the most boring road in the world. Honestly it really is. I've driven about 300miles per day for a week and we are only just here. We've seen nothing that i've said "look at that". I've said that a lot on the journey and I think we've not said it once in a week. Its REALLY boreing. The truck stops as service stations are great. Most have a good cafe and free Wi-Fi. These are all YPF Stations.
The Ferry was $200Ar and runs about ever 20mins. You pay on the boat. I think you could easily get away without paying. We paid ! Its much cheaper if you pay in Chilean Pesos though you need to get some and there is nowhere we saw.
Don't arrive at the border at 14:00 as I think they went for lunch from 13:00 to 14:00 as it took us 2 hours. As we were leaving there was nobody waiting so it would have taken 10 mins. This is the longest border process so far. Its pretty well signed but on leaving Argentina do not stop at the first post and go straight to the second "Chile" border. You do everything there, even the leaving Argentina parts. If you stand in the queue there you'll be wasting a lot of time. This is the Austral border and all formalaties are at the Chile side. On the way back we think its the reverse with all formalaties at the Argentinan side.
Not quite as exciting as the film. In reality not exciting at all as its 2600km of almost nothing so far and we've driven half of it. There is alegedly some more things to see this afternoon or tomorrow. We shall see....quite literally.
There are a lot of trucks going both directions. We've met one overlander in his camper van and would you believe his name was Stefan Bird, actually its Stefan Vogel but thats Steven Bird if you translate from German. We also saw a UK motorbike, he waved but we didn't see him again. Maybe he's on his was to the south.
We still haven't got gas for cooking and we are using small gas canisters on the backup (backpacker) cookers. We can replace one type of these in main supermarkets but the other camping gas "ezi click?" ones we don't think we can replace. The screw on canisters we have seen in Supermarkets so at least we can cook simple meals on a single ring. We found a little guy today who filled canisters but he was unwilling to butcher his setup to fill my bottle. We may have more success in the next larger town. I have many adapters but none like the ones here.
So far we've been staying for free in truck stops which is good news as we are spending a fortune on Diesel driving these big distances. The headwind yesterday made me use about 25% more fuel. We only did 472 miles when normally we'd do ~600 miles on 101 litres. It was VERY windy and we were heading direcly into the wind all day. The German guy was having a big problem with side wind gusts and as such had stopped hoping the wind would subside. It still hasn't.
Picture of the damage to the roof. The Mosquito net causing the flames,,,the rest just melted and fell onto the bed. Luckily our expensive down sleeping bags were just far enough away. As an Overlander choosing a fire extinguisher I'd go for Halon (or something like) as they make a lot less mess ! I cannot remember the exact name of the gas but they are really good....and expensive. Considering the mess the powder makes, it would be worth it.
Not quite as dramatic as being on the moon but we may be out of contact for quite a while. No working internet on the phone and no 3G. We are back on Sat Phone and Wi-Fi cafes. The Sat Phone messages take 24 hours to come through sometimes. UK text messages to my UK number work fine. Julie switches that phone on all the time as we get bank updates/alerts on that number. We can respond off the Argentina sim card. So we still have contact. Of course we will be updating the map as we try to drive 2600km in 10 days....
Checking out of the aprtment in half an hour. We still need to make the car habitable. There's wiring to fix and stuff to clean. Its a mess !
We've dumped two suitcases today which we've been carrying around since we came home in October. I'm glad they're gone. We seem to have accumulated a car full of stuff. Its about time we had a clear out.
Details on the Shipping costs and agents at each end. We used a "fixer" in the form of Duncan at African Overlanders in Gordons Bay. This cost us 2000 rand and to be honest added nothing. If you want to ship your car whilst you are not there it would be a valuable service however. If you are in country just do it yourself. We had quotes from various agents and costs were similar. If you ship from PE the shipping time is 9 days shorter which we were not advised of. The boats go from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth (PE) and then PE to South Amercia. The container waited 9 days in PE.
We have no complaints to make regarding either end. The final invoice in South Africa was produced after we had stuffed the car so the bill went up slightly. So expect this. The invoice in South America was fixed and everything was above board and perfect. The language barrier was a minor problem.
The South America agent is part of Grimaldi.
Unit C , Parc Dumont, Cnr Railway & Hoist Road, Montague Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: +27 21 552 6577
Fax: +27 21 552 4235
Cell: +27 83 592 6581
HAZARDOUS DOCUMENTATION AND STICKERS 513.00
LOAD AND SECURE / LASH AND STRAP 1,197.00
HAULGE TO LOAD DEPOT 1,254.00
CARGO DUES 1,233.02
TERMINAL HANDLING FEE 1,618.00
OCEAN FREIGHT AND BAF AND SURCHARGES 14,276.00
CTO /NAVIS FEE 114.00
HAULIER HANDOVER FEE 370.00
AGENTS RELEASE AND BILLS OF LADING 900.00
CUSTOMS DOCUMENTATION 570.00
CUSTOMS EXAM AND ATTENDANCE 570.00
FORWARDING FEE 1,824.00
EMPTY LIFTS 570.00
DISBURSEMENT CHARGES 250.80
TOTAL DUE R 25,442.22 (Approx <$3000 USD)
paid by bank transfer so zero tax.
Plate Logistics S.A.
25 de Mayo 702 - Piso 1, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: 54 (11) 4894-0445/6
Fax: 54 (11) 4515-0176
Cell:54 (11) 15-5182-1814
Agency Charges: usd 620 (Taxes incl)
Port charges: usd 1580
Customs doc fee: usd 50 (Taxes incl)
Customs Broker: usd 350
Total amount: usd $2600* (Taxes incl)
Paid this in Argentina Pesos as Blue Market exchange rate on changing usd (which we had) is about 28% better so saving us about $500usd off the bill. So Total was reduced to usd $2100. BRING DOLLARS !!!!!
Ever since I got my new laptop (when the other on packed up in Kenya) its had a faulty USB port. Just one of them was faulty and it has four of them so not a big problem. However the keyboard is also sticking so I decided it was about time to get it fixed. Problem is my warranty runs out in February and geting it fixed down here would be a problem....A big problem as it turns out. What I wanted was to register the problems and get it fixed when I return. HP said "no thats not possible as you will be out of warranty". They wanted me to buy an extended warranty to cover something that happened under warranty just because I want it fixed at home in a year. Crappy service. So I called the UK and they said "call Argentina". So I called Argentina, who don't speak English. So I called the USA and they said "call Argentina". So I called Argentina, who don't speak English. Eventually I got a chat session going with and English speaking Argentinian support guy. He said "call Kenya". See where this is going?
Eventually I got the Argentinian support guy to register the faults. He said the "parts will be 24-72 hours" and all will be sorted. As it turns out this was a lie. Parts here take almost a month coming from the USA. He also said "remove the encryption from the drive as the motherboard will need changing and the two are linked". I started the removal of the encryption and it broke. I lost all my data on the laptop. Luckily I got on the internet another way and found this is a common problem and there is a recovery disk as long as I have a copy of the backup encryption key. I did ! No how do I get this disk that only HP are meant to have? So we go to Universal System in Buenos Aires on Chile Av. The guys there didn't understand what I wanted at first but after 3 hours of Spanglish we managed to download the disk and boot the laptop to prove the data was still there. Eduardo at Universal System (this is the same place that HP were sending me for the motherboard) was fantastic. He went out of his way to help me and I left with a way to get my data back. I copied all data off the laptop and rebuilt it using the repair disks. Eduardo spent nearly 3 hours helping me for free!
So the next story....
Today we picked up the car. Faultless process and Matilda started first time. I was a little worried as we had no fuel in the car. There must have been a few litres left. We let down the tires to get it out the container and pumped them back up no problem. She was in great shape......
This was all until the rear LED light shorted out and set fire to the back of the car. Luckily Julie smelt burning and actully said something. I immediately opened the battery box took a look and switched off the main switch. At this point she noticed the flames in the back of the car. I ran round back and unlocked the back door shouting for Julie to bring the fire extinguisher as I unlocked the door. She was there in quick order and I pressed the plunger and the fire was out. Utter devastation. Curtains gone, mosquito net gone, roof bungee nets gone, mattress damaged, roof lining damaged. The car was also full of dry powder and so are my lungs. Its a real mess and I'm really angry we got all this way and a simple short in a LED light did all that damage. I'm happy Julie said something as I could have been GAME OVER......
We didn't take many photos of the damage as I was more worried about getting it all cleaned up. It was worse than it looks in the photos but not worse than I could have been.
We now need a new net, new curtains and new bungees. We have a spare mattress cover and we can spin the hole to the bottom. The roof lining and fittings are just something we will have to live with.
we've had a bit of a problem with the notebook. More on that later. Picking the car up at 10am Thursday....
Hopefully if all goes to plan there will be a proper update on everything tomorrow evening.
We are very happy in the car and our full size double. Its actaully better to sleep in than a normal double. You don't fall out if you get to the edge so it feels bigger. It also have probably 5cm (more maybe) of additional width but i'm not sure what the window to window width inside the back of the 110 is.
On the humid nights the boat fan is a must as it keeps the air moving. We can have the sides open as we have stainless nets on them and also on the rear door winding windows. We've fitted a hanging mosquito net so we can actaully have everything open. We've just purchased another boat fan (they aren't cheap !) but we're having fun trying to decide where to put it. Its a Hella Turbo and the old one is a Jet. The jet draws 300mA and the Turbo 600mA on full speed. It doesn't make a dent in the 50Ah leasure battery. The constant noise also help drown out all other outside noise so It makes the noisiest places OK to sleep.
With the fan on It worries me a bit as we cannot hear outside but if we are locked up its unlikely something could happen that wouldn't wake me up even with the fan. The Alpine windows are our side security as we can sit up in bed and see almost 180degrees at each side. Julie looks out the back window and I can jump into the front. Not that we've ever had to.
If we had to do the window tints again we'd get blackout on the sliders and rear winding windows, the alpines in 5% (as they are now) and the rear with blackout at the bottom and a strip on 5% at the top. We've also got blackout curtains on all the windows and these are supprisingly good for insulation and condensation protection. The sleeping bags don't touch the windows and the curtains go all the way round the bed so it stops any dampness on the bags.
We bought the new fan because if the Jet breaks were are in real trouble. You couldn't sleep in the car if its hot without one. The floor gets hot and when its 40c you need to park early otherwise the car is at 60c. The floor gets to 65c on a bad day and 50c normally. If its cool the floor gets to 30c so it helps keep it warm in the car but we have the diesel heater (Webasto Airtop 2000).
We like being in the car more than a bed in a hotel. We can camp almost anywhere and it just looks like a parked car. We camped in the VA Waterfront Mall in Cape Town and along the Nile in Aswan and had no problems. You just need to choose the spot. Too quiet and we might have issues so if theres a few parked cars around we just park up. We do stand out obviously but most of the attention is on the many flags on the back door.
Mechanically the car is good. Testament to changing almost everything before we left. Things that weren't changed have failed. We'd not had a single failiure that stopped us and in fact we've not had a single failiure other than the clutch slave seal that meant I had to fix it right then. Although the shocks were changed we could have still driven. Almost everything is maintenance based on normal visual checks.
We've had a clutch slave seal go in Kenya. I got a mouthfull of Dot4 from the housing.
We keep breaking rear shocks. Top ring usually. We now have some BOGE 130 rears in the spares box as the Bilstien rubbish is leaking on one side but the Armstrong on the other is going strong . I put this down to being heavy and a weak anti roll bar although we are not sure.
Stuck piston on front brake caliper but just needed cleaning. >400c on the wheel !!!! (stripped entire hub and re-greased on side of road)
Wheel bearings keep coming loose but they get checked and sorted all the time. One is worse than the others so i might change the stub axle.
Transfer box is a pain in the ass leaking so I had it sleeved in Cape Town. The centre diff lost its thrust washers. We've had the transbox out 3 times. I wonder if some very poor EP oil in Sudan affected the washers.
Changed the airbags in the rear for 130 helpers in Tanzania as the airbag mount was broken, as they all do. Thanks Airlift....utter rubbish.
Changed the rear anti roll bar UJs. First we made new bushes using my dremel and some spare old shock absorber bushes.
Changed rear drive members and shafts . They were worn and not changed before we left.
Changed a rear prop UJ twice as its not greasing properly so was wearing. Its still not right and its a Hardy Spicer. The Allmakes ones seem better as they have a metal seal on the cup. The Hardy's have a rubber one and it doesn't seem to keep the grease in.
Wore some holes in the snorkle pipe, sealed with aluminium airconditioning tape.
Leaking pipe on the power stearing res. New pipe clip but still leaking slightly. Needs sorting.
Cap on clutch master cylinder broke. Used the spare.
Changed the water pump as it was leaking a bit. Used the spare.
Changed the fuel lift pump as it was leaking a bit. Used the spare.
Changed the headlights to the other side ones and stuck with them even in Africa where they dive the same as us.
Change the oil every 5000 miles / filters every other change but often every
Change the transbox oil every 7000 miles.
Change the axle oils every 10,000 miles.
Check and grease about every week (or two).
If I had to say (repeat other peoples wisdom) what made the difference is everything on the car is standard kit. Its the best advice to other travellers I can offer. The other would be to take a Land Cruiser if you don't want to carry spares as theres 3 dealers in every village !
The only thing that wasn't standard was the crappy Big Bore shocks and these were a real problem. We ended up putting dropped shock mounts on the rear and normal length shocks. The shocks run smack in the middle of travel now but they are still breaking. A few have said we should go back to normal mounts and normal shocks but even carrying 2950kg we seem to be running with a lift. We will never fathom this problem. Maybe the BOGE HD 130 shocks will last the rest of the trip.
Tyres are BFG AT and are flawless. The older BFG MTs split but the newer ones do not by all accounts. East Coast ATs. West Coast MTs are a must. In South Amercia we shall see....I've just got new ATs.
Set off in October and miss the rains all the way down the East Coast. Arrive in May in South Africa.
Could it be we are getting a news paper artcle ? Usually they arn't interested as we don't have some charity to donate a few hundred pounds to. Well you know my feelings on that one. If UNICEF want to send us some pens we'll give em out and well even pay for them. Other than that you could never collect more than you spend unless you're someone famous. So we'll leave it up to Chris Moyles and the like. they did very well on their Kilimanjaro Climb. Millions ££ !!!
Any how this is what i've just sent the paper. Who said I was never good at English. This isn't the start of the book....its only the foreword.
Oh and if any future employers want my proposal writing skills, minus all the spelling mistakes caused by my sticking keyboard, send me a message.
""We decided to do the trip about 4 years ago but had been saving for something for a long time. We didn’t quite know what we were saving for, possibly retirement but what would we do with the money when we were old ? We were also expecting Julie to be made redundant and she was but little did we know was that Jarvis Rail went bust so her nice redundancy cheque didn’t materialise and her 22 years of working for them was worth a lot less than we thought. She had trouble finding a job in Doncaster but managed to get a temp Job at Wilkinsons Head Office which she loved and it was in the right direction against the terrible traffic caused by the new bus lane. Julie had no choice in driving to work as she worked in York for Jarvis and went very early most mornings and before the busses to catch the train. With the parking situation in Doncaster driving to Worksop knocked more than 2 hours from her commute. She was really happy there so leaving to go round the world wasn’t as attractive as it once was. She was still a temp though so what was there to loose.
(for all the Wilko's lots, yes she will come back if you will have her)
My job, where I’d been for 5 years was finally safe as I worked for an Internet company in Derby having been made redundant myself during the Dot Com bust ups. I took me a long time to find the job and almost a year and half out of work after the last one. I’d been made redundant twice but neither gave us much money but since one of us was usually working we made do with what we had and still saved like mad.
We bought Matilda (The Land Rover Defender 110 300Tdi) in Nov 2009 and I spent all our spare cash and time changing parts and getting her ready for the trip. I knew very little about cars and only what my Dad have taught me when I was a little boy. With the help of people I met on the internet at a Land Rover forum and some other travellers from Stockton on Tees we got Matilda ready. There are some websites dedicated to round the world travel and we used them for planning the route. Syria and Egypt becoming a bigger problem every day. We finally passed through Syria in the midst of the troubles on 14th November 2011. The people we were travelling with across Syria broke down in Homms and we managed to stay 2 nights in Damascus whilst I fixed their car. I’d learnt so much fixing mine up that I knew more than the Land Rover dealer in Damascus. Fixing other peoples cars and helping them out seemed to be a bit of a trend from then on.
We have quite a few jabs before we left and a lot of Malaria tablets ! We have another years supply each. Asking the Doctor for 700 tablets is a difficult conversation. Since its private prescription you can have them but for other stuff they just say “no”. Doesn’t matter that you might get ill. They don’t care, there are rules. Julie has to take a tablet every day and getting those from the NHS is impossible as they have these silly rules on how many they will give her. It’s amazing the things that you need to do whilst you are away and you take from granted when at home. Even the most simple prescription costs a lot. Much more than at home. Isn’t the NHS fantastic when you compare it to almost zero healthcare in some place in Africa.
Matilda herself was a Land Rover Defender 110. The 300Tdi engine was old and
uncomplicated. There was no computer and not much that could go wrong electrically. She’s an uncomplicated woman. Which was great for an uncomplicated Yorkshireman to fix. We had three boxes of parts on the roof and a computer full of workshop manuals. Inside there’s just us and Dash our mascot. Dash is a blue teddy bear my mother gave me along with a St. Christopher to go on my chain round my neck. I think they’ve both looked after us.
There’s a summary of our car problems in the link below. Might be a bit technical but it’s all there.
Mother is looking after our stuff whilst we are away. There’s a surprising amount of stuff that needed sorting out. The local Santander Branch Manager has been a star as we always need to do something or pay something and they both look after us very well. We use Skype a lot and we’ve have over 20 PayGo sim cards for my phone. It Internet 3G coverage is great even in Africa. The Maasai warriors have their spear in one hand and their mobile phones in the other.
Africa is expensive, which is very surprising. Egypt is certainly the cheapest place for almost everything including fuel. In Ethiopia we were very surprised as its Green! We only expected to see the sand and dust that the TV programs show but Ethiopia is a BIG place and Africa is massive. You can fit all India, China, USA and all of Europe into Africa with some other smaller countries filling in the gaps. Its BIG and it usually takes 3 months or so to drive from Europe to Cape Town. We took much longer and left Africa after one year.
We slept in McDonalds car parks, hotel car parks, laybys, side of the road, in shopping centre car parks, campsites, the odd hotel, people’s houses and almost anywhere we found that was safe. We even slept in the desert under the night of a thousand stars. It really makes you realise how our little journey is nothing in comparison to the distance to some of those stars in the sky. We saw the edge of the Milky Way from horizon to horizon. Something you only get to do in places like the desert.""
Red Bull decided to try to sell the Argentinians some Renaults today. So we went to watch. First time I've seen a F1 car. It was hot and I've got a burnt head. No it wasn't either of the principal drivers but Torro Rosso guy called Daniel Ricciardo.
So as mentioned yesterday here are the details for the insurance office in Buenos Aires. The lady in the office who speaks English is really helpful and will talk over the phone or via Email.
Ana Kolarik (name of lady)
Seguros Rivadavia (Insurance Company Name)
1054 Bernardo de Irigoyen (road its on)
Phone 11 5167 2400
(its a few hundered meters south of "Independencia" Sube "Metro Underground Station" in San Telmo and just basically on a side road to Ave 9 de Julio. If you get to Humberto Primo you've gone too far South but at least you're on the correct side of the road)
They will insure cars or bikes the standard rate seems to be $288peso per month. They might discount it slightly especially if you pay cash and for 6 months or more. If you speak spanish you might be able to get more discount.
Insurance South America MERCOSUR Argentina Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Bolivia Chile Peru
A mostly successful day and we are both shattered. We've got insurance for Matilda. We've moved into the aparment (and can smell gas). We've discovered the Argentinian black market !!!
We've reported the gas smell and turned it off...mum
We can get US Dollars changed to Pesos and a rate of 6.15 rather than 4.8 and to the accountants among you thats nearly 28% better which is a LOT. Imagine you're just about to spend $2600USD on something like shipping your car....imagine a 28% saving....imagine about $500USD being knocked off the cost.....BONUS !!!! Yorkshiremen everwhere rejoice......I know I am.
Photos of the apartment tomorrow and details of where to go for the insurance. Cross posted to "The Hubb" of course. Oh and I need to do the tripadvisor on the hostel. So far the company that do the apartment seem pretty professional. The owner lives next door and the agent, just up the road.
Insurance was $1454peso for 6 months basic third party liabilty only. Bikes are the same price. It covers most of South America.
We travelled to the ends of Buenos Aires and back twice today. We walked about 10km. Actually it was a route march. The Argentinian AA were no good for the insurance but pointed us back to a company a few streets from the hostel and we'd walked 5km to get there so off we went back. Isn't it always the case. My Argentinian contact messaged the Land Rover Argentina Club to help but he was slightly too late. It would be nice to meet up with them anyhow. You never know when we will need help.
Did I mention someone tried to pick-pocket me.....I caught the little sod but they retreated speedily as they don't like confrontation by all accounts. This was on the subway. They went for Julies zip on her backpack yesterday but someone else saw them and warned Julie. Lovely place BA.
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