March 7th 2011
I am "stuck" in Santiago because I blew my suspension and need to wait about 2 weeks to get a new one, at only 36k km. The good news; it will be covered by warrenty.
It was my last day at the hostel. I left the bike in front of the hostel and met Esteban, from Couchsurfing, a website where you can connect with people who can host you in their hometown. A great way to meet new friends and see new places from a different perspective. I was great to meet Esteban and drink beer with him.
He's living in a nice appartment tower.
Came back the next day at the hostel to bring the bike to the dealer. Victor, a great guy who works there, told me ha had trouble to sleep because many people were looking at my bike, and driving around and coming back, he got out to talk to them and he also added another bicycle lock, much bigger than mine. It's great he did that, maybe he saved my bike from being stolen. Anyway the bike wouldn't be staying in the street no more since I brought it to the dealer.
Katrina, a friend I met in San Diego and went with her to Baja, is attending a friend wedding in Buenos Aires. Then Wolf, German biker friend I rode with in Peru, is also going to Buenos Aires. Why I shouln't go? So I took the bus and went there. Esteban kindly offered me to stay again at his place when I get back to Santiago. Before I left I made appointment with BMW for a 40k km service on the 16th when I will be back to Santiago.
Chile-Argentina border. Big lineup of buses, it took hours to get through. Didn't take any photos of the Andes from the bus because it doesn't stop for taking pictures.
It about 1400km distance and took well over 24hrs. I spent the night in the bus, which is comfortable enough to get some sleep.
Met Katrina and her friend Olga and headed towards the cemetery where many cats were also at the meeting. Only very wealthy people have to privillege to get buried at this cemetery, if you look at the tombs you see why!
Katrina taking pictures and Olga on the right.
Marble and sculptures everywhere!
Walk to a park nearby.
Had a very good pizza and some beer at this brewery. Food and beer excellent, but service very poor , nobody came to ask us if we wanted anything more.
It got dark and then we headed to a nice dinner at Moliere's I think. The food was excellent too, and they had a life band, tango dancer, and a talented singer so expressive, he was making faces and it looked like he was almost crying.
We went out for more drinking at the same place we had beer earlier that day, but they closed so early, at 2am, party should start at that time in Buenos Aires, so we probably weren't at the right place.
I woke up late, Katrina and Olga meet me at my hostel and we go walking.
There are 3 more lane on the left, can't see in the photo, but in total this road is about 20 lanes wide, the most I've ever seen.
Gayest cop car ever! I didn't heard the siren, but I'm sure it sounds gay too :)
Nice pedestrian path, I got my leather belt fixed there.
Buenos Aires is a mess, some places are quite dirty, and you can see old building mixed with the newer one. The new ones can be quite ran down and plain and ugly while the old one are nice.
At the hostel, nany nice Brazilians travellers and students. I really like the Brazilians in general they are very helpful and nice people, but the women are the best because they will approach you and talk to you. They gave me food, and Julia on the left gave me wine. She was also speaking French because her dad was French but married a Brazilan women.
Hugo and Julianna. Spent some time with Juliana who wanted to learn French, and me wanted to learn Portugese. It was nice learning from her, with a bit of help; google translate. Then we went out for food. Hugo was speaking English and he could help us if we couln't understand each other with our Spanish.
Ended up in the kitchen at 4am with my new friends from the hostel.
Katrina wanted to go out with me, but I never got the email she sent telling me where she was, unreliable Internet. I still met her just before she left to take her plane back to USA.
Jonathan, also went with us for coffee before they left. I was nice to see Katrina again and meet her nice friends. Hope to see you again guys!
March 14th, checkout time for my hostel at 10am and need to take a bus back to Santiago. I need to meet my friend Wolf while we're both in Buenos Aires. I had to walk about 20 blocks to meet him so it made me discover new areas of town.
Wolf and I at his hostel, it was great to see him again we had lots of fun in Peru together!
We had lunch anf talked for a bit, then I headed to the bus station using the metro. It's the cheapest public transport I've ever seen, cost about 25 cents. It's old, dirty, but it'll get you there. The oldest train I've ever seen also. You need to manually open and close the doors on this one, and the inside is made of wood.
The bus stopped in Mendoza. About 70% of Argentinian wine is produced in the areas nearby Mendoza. Very nice place and since I had time before my other bus going to Santiago, I went for a walk.
Wide streets, big open plazas, I've read the city has been destroyed by hearthquake and after they rebuild in such a way that's easier to evacuate and gather in the plaza.
I'm back in Santiago and met Esteban again. He was kind enough to let me stay at his place for a few days more. On the 16th I've done my 40k km service even thought the bike was only 36500km, but I have time might as well do it and be done with it. I insisted to be there with the mecanics and it was a great idea. I think the mecanics were very good, but they looked unsure about what was the value of the valves clearance. They just said I need to adjust 2 valves. I found out they didn't had a good feeler gauge to measure the clearance precisely, so I gave them mine, which was more precise, and all the sudden I need to adjust 6 valves out of 8.
Took the opportunity to see how it's done. I also replaced my bottle of juice being use to protect my suspension by the real thing. I am hoping it won't break again just by looking at it.
My new "grandma goes to the market" original crappy plastics.
They were 2 mecanics plus their boss looking after my bike, plus myself. I am confident everything has been done properly. But the main problem, they still didn't have a suspension for me, maybe tomorrow... So came back at 8am the next day, the 18th, and thanks God, they had it!!!
The bike is ready, I'm ready, I will go. It's not gonna be easy, it's gonna be lots of driving, lots of distance, very strong winds, and it will be very cold now that winter is coming very soon down there in Pantagonia.
My mind is in Buenos Aires, but I can't wait to get to Ushuaia, it will means a lot for me, I reached my goal and now I will need to come back. Hopefuly I will find some time to update my blog before I get to Buenos Aires again.
Thank you very much to my friend Esteban in Santiago to let me stay at his place for so many days and being supportive. I am hoping some day I will be able to pay that back!