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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by AnjinSan, Jul 19, 2012.
Always a treat to find a new post from you two A late happy new year to you both!
I enjoy your perspective in each post, Alex. Waiting patiently for the next installment and more of Andreea's photos.
Enjoy the Peruvian Andes, some of the best riding in the world!
Will you travel to Machu Picchu? If so, the route from Cusco - Ollantaytambo - Santa Maria - Santa Teresa - Hydroelectrica is a spectacular ride, and leaves you positioned to take an easy two hour hike along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.
Great Ride Report,
Very nice post on Colombia. Happy New Year!
Love reading your posts. I am still in Medellin awaiting more bike repairs so sadly with my time ticking down I won't get too see all the places you have. But such is life. Travel safe my friends.
Thanks for the thumbs up guys! I do hope you are "recovering" well from the parties on 31st :)
@Deb: I am sorry to hear that you need additional reparis on the bike. Still due to the crash last year or something new? I hope you will fix them and get going South fast. You... could skip some parts in the desert and rush it to the mountains hehe..
Also, these days Gunnar, our Vstrom, passed 60000 kms. Wishing and praying for many many more without problems
Looks like I might be on the road in the next hour after sitting at BMW and pleading to look at options. But Salento I go! Thanks for the tips!
It's barely broken in I would just check/maintain oil level and with regular oil change and a bit of simple maintenance it will last allot more.No experience with Vstrom's but FWIW my two VFR 800's lasted me 45 and 50 thousand miles each before I crashed one and the other I sold, never touched the engines except replacing spark plugs and oil. FJR 1300 I had close to 60,000 miles when sold and was as strong as new, and now my GS 1200 is at 83,000 miles - only major issue was final drive bearing replaced at 65 k miles. GS was only bike I ever did valve check/adjustments. I hope that puts your mind at ease.
Appreciate the beautiful RR, please keep it coming.
Adios Columbia, Hola Ecuador: 20 21 December
We still had 2 more days to go from Popayan to Ecuador border. Of course, we could have done it in just one longer day but
. why hurry? Especially that we are getting into the mountains again.
There are many deserted places on the road but nature is wonderful. Beautiful but not that simple. I remember what my friends from Popayan told me If you go 50-100 km away from Popayan into the mountains you can meet the guerillas. Stay on the main roads.
Columbia is recovering after a long periods of internal fights with many paramilitary organizations.Many of them gave up arms in the last years and formed
political parties. Not all of them though. The government and members of active guerrillas are discussing it right now in Cuba. The subject is a delicate and complex one, same as in others countries in the area. And it seems really hard to be black or white. The certain thing is that many lives were impacted by these fights. And it´s obvious since we didn´t live like that we cannot imagine how their way of life was during that period.
I remember a Colombian friend from Medellin telling us how he moved to from the coutryside to the city after they were attacked in their own house one day, locked out in one of the rooms and when they managed to get out there was nothing left in the house. Whoever got in stole everything but they were happy they came out alive. But decided to leave those beautiful places and nature landscape for the safety of the city where guerrillas cannot operate. These kind of stories really puts your mind at work and in the same time makes me feel grateful that we can think freely about moving to the countryside when we go back to Romania.
We´re staying on the main road and we are feeling same. Actually we felt safe all the way through Colombia. Things seem to be going back to normal and the army seems to strongly control most of the areas. Colombians can now feel safe again and travel at ease.
On our way to Pasto, we pass through a very weird place. It was a village where basically all the villagers were begging on the side of the road. Just like that, they were reaching their hands and asking for money as you came closer.
We were told that this is a practice that happens mainly around end of the year, the villagers are asking for money for the new year and they are making straw dolls that they will burn on December 31 (impersonating the problems and worries they had in the year that was coming to an end). Weird and dangerous customs I would say. We also find out that you have to pay attention at the way they hold their hands. If the palm is up it means they are begging. If the palm is facing down they that person (mostly a woman) is offering herself to you for money.
That place was incredibly sad for me.
Worst thing was that they also had some strings tied to a tree on one side of the road that they were pulling up when you were getting closer to make you stop. The strings were not up when we passed but that didn´t make us feel any better or released. Most of the people handling the strings were kids and you cannot tell what come through a kid´s mind or what a pulled string could do to a motorcycle. I cannot help thinking what kind of parents make their children beg and pull out strings across the road. I honestly doubt these people should have children, or if they do have them they should not be allowed to raise them. We were relieved to leave that place. Sometimes it is better to travel through deserted areas. But clear road may be dangerous so we have to pay attention.
And where there are no pulled strings or crashed cars there are landslides. Luckily in Colombia the authorities clear the road really fast. In Pasto we have another pleasant surprise and we are proven again that Colombians are polite and hospitable. We stop at a hotel recommended by some friends who stayed there few days before. Everything is perfect and after having lunch we are getting ready for some online research for our next day border crossing in Ecuador. Unfortunately their WiFi was not working. They tried to fix it for one hour but didn´t make it so we apologized and explained that we really needed internet that day for some research. Therefore we moved to the hotel across the street. The people from the first hotel not only didn´t mind us leaving but also apologized for their internet problem, gave our money back and helped us move to the other hotel.No, the hotels didn´t have the same owner, they were competitors. We were speechless again. The next day we are heading to Ipiales, the border city from Colombia to Ecuador. We stop at Las Lajas before crossing into Ecuador to see the cathedral that was built over a canyon. The construction is spectacular. Interesting fact is that Vatican recognized the sanctuary as church only in 1951. Apart from political or religious businesses Las Lajas is a place of pilgrimage. Grateful people put thanking plates on the rocks around the church. We take a photo with our national costumes and this is it, time to head for the border. It´s holiday season so not only it is hard to find a hotel room in this period but the border crossings are crowded also. At least there are no helpers like in Central America and you can quietly wait in line. Or on the floor next to a pile of textiles. Two hours later we are free to explore Ecuador. First thing we notice is that we are higher, we are surrounded by mountains and everything is green! We are stopping at a gas station to fuel up and we notice something else: gas price. And yes, price is in dollars per gallon. Time to carelessly rev the engine on wonderful roads. We are in Ecuador
and we got here by motorcycle, from Romania! Yuhuuu! Route map for this story: <small>View Larger Map</small>
Next time we will be really crossing the Equator line and getting ready for Christmas. Wonder where we will be going? Stay tuned!
Another very insightful narrative. However, one comment puzzled me, "cannot help thinking what kind of parents make their children beg and pull out strings across the road. I honestly doubt these people should have children, or if they do have them they should not be allowed to raise them."
Possibly you should "live in their shoes" for a while with no hope for a better life before making a statement like that? Just sayin........it seems so out of character for you.
As always a great report, thanks for posting!
I agree with Merlin. I've been to Romania a couple of times and seen poverty, animal cruelty, poor children begging and roaming in the streets day and night. I guess Romania is not capable to help them, like in Colombia or any third world country. The goal of this RTW trips or any trip for that matter is to attempt to make the world a better place. Politics should be left to the politians.
Another insightful report. Thanks
I live in USA for my past 20 years, but was born and raised in Romania.
Seeing children suffer is one very pitiful thing and a sad reality of life, but seeing their parents making them (or simply letting it happen) do things to hurt someone else, is entirely another and not the responsibility of their young minds. That doesn't become a rationale for accepting ropes strung across the road to hurt people.
When I was nearly 5 a band of gypsies lured me outside my grand mother's house near Danube and, as it was common, they were going to turn me into a lawless person, amputating one arm or leg and make me beg fro them, perhaps teaching me to steal for them, who knows what their plans were but something good was not. I escaped that fate due to a neighbor who happened to be coming home at just the right time to save me from being taken away forever. I am not advocating judgement of others deciding whether some people should or should not have kids but can relate to the outrage in Alex's opinion when he was faced with a possible crash or worse due to what these kids were playing with, however he should and will certainly rethink the way he expressed it.
After all Alex, you are here for the experience and need to understand the western world. We in the old land, were used to not sugar coating what we say when among friends, but here it is sometimes more important for many that people "play nice" rather than tell exactly what they think.
I think you should keep writing as you see it, you are having a great adventure and your ride report is unique because of your views. I am sure you didn't mean any harm to anyone and your words were merely a reflection of your feelings at the time because of what you saw.
You base your thoughts and feelings on your life's experience and we really enjoy your writing. Write what you feel. If you try to analyse your post on what someone else might think your RR will lose some of its appeal. Looking forward to the next installment.
Keep it coming.
Thanks you two for sharing an awesome adventure! Subarashii deshou!
Totally agree to your post, but just FYI the kids will put the rope up just to slow you down, yes, they are begging for money, but are not out to hurt anybody. If you just keep your speed constant they will lower the rope some meters before you get there. It's very common in Colombia and Venezuela.
Hola Alejandro y Andreea, good to see the adventure is going well!
Just caught up with the RR with my new computer, decided to read about your adventures instead of posting mine - you are a great writer. I hope you don't listen to anyone who tells you to write differently. Glad to see the videos are up, but where is that awesome intro? Now that I'm back in the digital realm I'll beat you to it if you don't hurry, and everyone will think you stole the idea from me
Lovely photos on your part too Andreea, I like that you are playing around with new perspectives on some shots.
It was great to read up, made me remember meeting you guys and it seems you have met some great people on the road. Keep the adventure spirit strong my road wandering brethren!
Hi guys! Wow, 2 days out of internet and I miss the debate:)
Yes, I believe this RR is just like a mirror, it shows the "Americas" as we see it. So I have to put it out there that sometimes the image might be distorted as it bears the faults of the writer(and I have many). Nevertheless I will keep writing nut just as I see things but as I feel about things as well, because I think it is more honest like this. And I will accept that what I feel is not always correct or even fair and will be open to change my view, by learning from others.
Now, this being said, I think there has been a confusion about what I wrote. I wasn't advocating for any extreme measures but meagerly being angry to see things like that (and I get the same where ever I see them)
My point (in which I still believe) is this: kids are born innocent and good by nature. What changes them is the surroundings in which they grow up. In other circumstances, I could have become a thief or a murderer, instead of writing on ADV. Others really do become. So, the people who bring kids into this world have (in my opinion) a great great responsibility. And it gets me so angry when I see kids who are not taken care of. Instead they are made to "provide" for the family in a demeaning way. Kids should play, grow up with good examples and have good education and a chance to make something in his life. But that's just an idealistic hope, I know.
And as a side note: poverty has nothing to do with the subject. God mercy, my family was not poor (by Romanian standards that is) but I grew up in a small village and I got to know and experience a lot of "shoes" as you said. We were but kids (less than 7 years old) and we were working the fields side by side with our grandparents, we had no big possessions, no toys (except the ones which we were making by ourselves) and our living conditions where "spartan" (by western standards). Never the less, we were blessed with parents and families that never thought or made us do things that might harm our future. By contrary they worked hard to get us to school and give us a chance.
That's why, I said that these parents are irresponsible. No mater what, as a parent, you DON'T teach your kid to beg or to pull strings across the road (he could hurt himself and he could hurt others as well). No mater what, you just don't ! You as a parent do what you have to do but don't use the innocence and life o a child. Pure and simple.
And don't get me wrong, I wasn't making any comparison between Colombia and other countries (Romania included). These problems exist everywhere (I am afraid even in "developed" countries, but in more sophisticated ways, let alone in countries who are "poor", like Romania). And I stick to my view that it is a problem of the "grown ups" and kids have no fault in this. That's why I tend to be a little bit "radical" in this matter.
Uh, long reply over. Hope I haven't made everyone to sleepy and also I hope I clarified a little bit the matter and haven't started a flame. That, for sure, is not my intention.
Hi Blake! So good to hear from you! Where are you now? I've seen on your blog that the last entry is from New Orleans (which we know you've passed already neh?)
How's your plan to spend at least 1 month in each country you pass through? If you stick to that, you should still be in Central America, yes?
Trying to help other travelers that might take the same routes as we did, we thought to put together a section listing the accommodations and places to eat that we've liked (or disliked :huh)
The descriptions cover only the journey from Mexico South (as we figured in Canada and US is less difficult to find good places)
I do not know if there is a better place to put the link but for now, here it goes here in the RR
I hope it will help some of you.