PORKANDCORN: A Man & His Duck Explore South America

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by porkandcorn, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    great. glad to have you on board!
    #41
  2. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    so after realizing the dakar route was running right across my path to mendoza, argentina, i stuck around another day to hunt down a good spot to watch the racers come through. yesterday, we drove from playa reneca, through concón, into limache, and around into villa alemana. after finding no good spots to stay, we drove the final 8 miles back into the back side of vina del mar. we found a sketchy hostel downtown that had ancient mattresses, mosquitos, and shitty internet. as a traveler, i'm fine with terrible lodging, but bad wi-fi is inexcusable.

    we rolled into limache, no motorcycles anywhere. how can an event that draws 10,000 spectators not produce at least one or two bikes on the road?

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    en route to dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    anyway, at a gas station we got directions to the zones dos espectadores (spectators zone). there is hardly any signage in the town. finally, we got to a place where there were some dakar vehicle in front of a dirt road. it looked official, so we just blasted through without talking to anyone. (that's how you do things in south america if you don't want to spend all day talking in terrible spanish to people that barely understand you.)

    we passed a couple of cows on the road, which over the in-helmet intercom system that i brought along, we named "DAKOWS" out of respect for the event. 2 more DAKOWS, and we ran into a big ranch gate that looked super official with signs that said VIP DAKAR ESPECIAL. well, my spanish is bad, but this gringo knows when he's onto something good.

    i pulled off the helmet, and we chatted up the guard. franco, the guard, said that this area was for VIP, race techs, and TV crews. i explained to him that we had just risen the length of the americas to get to this event (una mentira - a lie), and he agreed we were worthy to enter.

    after a few kilometers more of dirt road, we came into a clearing roped off with yellow tape. we followed a tape path down to the end of the big clearing toward the VIP tent, realizing after a few confused looks that we were riding on the ACTUAL DAKAR 2013 COURSE!!

    since we were already pushing our luck a bit by lying our way into VIP, we agreed we should get the hell off the course. bear pulled up under a big shade tree, right next to the Red Bull camp, and we claimed our own CAMP GRINGO, DAKAR 2013.

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    campo dakar por los gringos, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i pulled out the camping goods, made some coffee and tea, and we've just been hanging out taking photos with all the VIPs who keep coming over and asking if we are in the race. "claro que si!" (of course we are!). no, actually, we've been finally telling the truth. so it's about 11:15am now, and we are just waiting for the racers to start blasting by the course.

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    dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    chiliean "zumaran", dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    special line-up, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    special line-up, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    special, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    what?, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dutch fanatic, dakar 2013, limache, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    bear and i split out of the dakar VIP area around 3pm, both eager to get off to our next destinations. once we got out of the VIP section, we ran into all the normal spectators. since we came from the direction of the race, everyone assumed we were racing. so we were waving, stopping for photos, kissing babies. we didn't want to disappoint them. they'd been waiting all day for a glimpse of the action. it continued out on the freeway moving SE to santiago (bear) and los andes (me). in our final miles together, bear and i were getting standing ovations and cheers from people parked along the freeway waiting for dakar riders and drivers to come by. quite a send off.

    bear and i stopped for water about 7km from my turn east to los andes and the paso dos liberadores - my entrance into argentina. i got a little emotional. it was odd. here i had just made a good friend, sharing some pretty intense days at the start of our journey, and now we were already parting.

    bear is headed to santiago to take care of some business before heading to patagonia. (get that tail light fixed boy!). i'll miss him. if patagonia sucks (it won't), we can meet up in 3-4 weeks in mendoza and continue north together. he's a good man...

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    fairwell bear, for now, route 60/route 5, north of santiago, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    later that afternoon, i started to climb elevation toward the paso dos liberadores and the andean peak of aconcagua, the highest point in the andes and the second highest point in the world after the himalayas. i got to the bottom of the switchback and hit the line-up i was expecting.

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    line-up for paso dos liberadores crossing, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    line-up for paso dos liberadores crossing, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    line-up for paso dos liberadores crossing, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    they are doing construction on the paso, so eastbound from chile can only pass from 8pm to 7am. so i rolled up to the front of a 3 mile line (good to be on a motorcycle), and stuck in with a pack of about 8 bikes, which turned out to be brazilians on the way back home from dakar.

    so after spending all day speaking spanish, i switched over to portuguese for the 1.5 hour wait. i was told that even brazlians, after spending time in spanish speaking countries, end up speaking "portunol" - a mix of the two. now i don't feel so bad. my portuguese is still better.

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    são paulo, brazil motorcycle plate by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    una paulista con un triumph tiger, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    an american from seattle named ted showed up at the line-up, and he and i ended up decided to stay at the hotel portillo up the road and after the chilean switchbacks.

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    ted from seattle, route 60, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the switchbacks were intense, and we took them at dusk after they release the 300 car line-up. i was at the head of the pack after i passed a big tour bus. it was intense. the altitude comes quick. soon, as i passed into the mountain shadow, dusk turned to night. i don't like riding at night, but it was an empty road with no oncoming traffic. just eventually switchbacks lit by the moon. (i didn't take the photo, as i couldn't stop, but this is what they look like during the day.)

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    paso dos liberadores, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    eventually, the GPS directed me onto a dirt road toward the hotel portillo. it was completely vacant.

    hmmmm... the next town in across the chilean/argentinian border, through customs and about 3 hours of non-sense. i stopped to see if i could anyone. it was unlocked and i wandered in. i found my way down into the kitchen. there were 3 staff members there, although i don't know why. by this time ted had shown up and i was convincing one of them in spanish to let us camp out in the hotel, if only on the floor. finally, he agree and after a nice meal of ham and cheese sandwich and a bottle of local red wine, we camped out in some grand living room. i felt like in the night, the two little twin girls from hitchcock's the shining would throttle me in my sleep. i sleep on the couch cushions, with my motorcycle jacket as a blanket and my motorcyle pants as a pillow. i could not have been happier.

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    vacant hotel portillo, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    campo portillo, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    campo portillo, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #42
  3. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    the next morning, we had to get up at 5:45am to get on the road and up over the pass before they closed down the east-bound lanes at 7am. we ran into the portillo's st. bernard guard dog in the early morning as we were leaving. he was sniffing around in the living room during the night. the light was coming up quickly on the hotel, even though we woke in total darkness. the hotel, and the lake are intense, especially when there are not people around to ruin it all.

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    st. bernard at portillo hotel, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    hotel portillo, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    laguna del inca, portillo, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    eventually, i wound up in the emigration/customs complex for entry into chile. there was a pretty serious line that took about 1.5 hours to pass through. then it was about a half hour inside before we were release with the appropriate stamps and documents into... ARGENTINA!!

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    argentinian immigration, horcones, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    argentinian immigration, horcones, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    route 7 coming down from the pass was big and beautiful. the andes are a young mountain range, and it shows in the complexity and variety of color that you see in the mountains.

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    puente del inca hot spring, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 7, argentina (west of uspallata) by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 7, argentina (west of uspallata) by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 7, argentina (west of uspallata) by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 7, argentina (west of uspallata) by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    route 7, argentina (west of uspallata) by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    ted, route 7, argentina (west of uspallata) by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    arriving in mendoza, food and wine were on minds, but finding lodging was a priority. all the hostels were booked due to the heavy summer hiking traffic heading up to aconcagua mountain. some dutch hikers that i ran into gave me a tip on a double bed room about 10 blocks from where we were looking, so we b-lined for it. no fuss when rooms are tight. we arrived, got settled, and headed out to a nice dinner of argentinian steak (very good), wine (very good) and papas fritas.

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    los haroldso vina, mendoza, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    central mendoza, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #43
  4. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    yesterday, i felt free. i'm not sure what impact this trip is having or supposed to be having on me. but yesterday, i felt free.

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    ruta 7, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    from mendoza to buenos aires is a 15 hour drive. on a triumph tiger 800xc, it's a 12 hour blast at nearly 100 miles an hour (sorry mom, it had to be done). hay no policia on ruta 7, the straight-as-an-arrow shot of pavement across the continent. the roads are nearly perfect, and having felt a bit trapped out on the coast waiting to get moving, i had 'heavy wrist'. there was just enough traffic to make it fun, kicking down into 5th, 4th gears at time to tear past a semi or a slow car. i'd get waves, thumbs-up, and honks as i zipped by. not a lot of fast motorcycles in the central plains of argentina, so people would catch up to me at a gas station, want to take my picture, and talk about the bike.

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    ruta 7, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    blasting through the flat landscape of soy and corn fields peppered with cows, many times it felt like a homecoming for this iowa boy. there were several times where i forgot where i was, relapsing to some earlier time in my life driving from iowa city to des moines on iowa's interstate 80, coming back from visiting friends at the university of iowa... or visiting my sister heading south on I-35 to kansas city. and then i would awakened from the illusion by a strange vehicle, or come into a police checkpoint, and realize - holy shit - i'm riding across south america on my way to buenos aires!!!

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    ruta 7, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    people warned me that the ride would be tedious and boring, but i loved every damn inch of it. after some pink floyd (atom heart mother), and some leonard cohen (songs from a room), i put on a greg brown album (further in), which is for me the quintessential iowa album and reminds me of many things. i was brought to tears, and had to pull over to clear my eyes. i took a panorama shot on that stop. i was ear to ear smiles.

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    ruta 7, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i arrived into buenos aires out-skirts just as the sun was setting. the city is huge and on the interstate to city center was about a hour. the freeway were empty for some reason, and i throttled on, getting very, very excited about riding into the famous place. the garmin zumo navigator made it stress-free and easy. i just follow the pink line on the screen while the nice british lady talks me in.

    now it's morning, had a great sleep, and i'm heading out with a map to walk the city. tonight, i'm invited to a barbeque at the B&B that i'll be moving to tomorrow, and there's a half of a cow involved.
    #44
  5. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

    Joined:
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    1,809
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    :thumb Glad to hear this worked smoothly for you.
    #45
  6. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    buenos aires is enormous. i spent the first day or two being rather overwhelmed. where and how do you begin to explore a city this size? well, much like i were in portland, oregon, i walk. you start from where you sleep, and you move in concentric circles of increasing diameter. it works.

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    avenida del libertador, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i first stayed at the querido b&b, run by a brit and his brazilian wife. great place, beautiful building and location.

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    querido b&b, villa crespo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    then i moved to the abode b&b run by a brit couple, david & zoe. the abode has parking for my bike, and an amazing rooftop patio where meals and parties are had, and where guests have 24 hours access. i like to make blog entries from up here.

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    abode b&b, palermo soho, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    abode b&b, palermo soho, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    godoy cruz and thames street, palermo soho, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    david, parilla king, abode b&b, palermo soho, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    today, i pulled the road cases off my bike and got lost in the chaotic traffic. there are lines in the road, but no one pays much attention to them. intersections without signals are a game of chicken at best. it's best just to go with the flow. driving here is more like dancing, or maybe chess. you feel the patterns, and you strike opportunistically when you need or want to advance. packs of motorcycles sometimes 50 strong ride the crest of the wave in front of traffic, often blasting through red lights, or at least predicting the greens. reds turn yellow, then green to give the stopped traffic a chance to get moving before opposing traffic starts. it's safest as a motorcyclist to stick with the pack. so that's what i did. i'm not pushing my luck, it would be just a matter of time before you are hit from behind, side-swiped, or something else. it requires your complete attention. and for that, i enjoyed it.

    the city, at least in the neighborhoods i am in, is very safe. it's common for people to be out walking around from bar to bar well past 4am. so i've taken to walking around at night. when i walk during the day, i can sweat completely through a pair of pants or a shirt in 15 minutes. it's humid here, like summers in the midwestern u.s. that i not-so-fondly remember.

    my sleep patterns have changed along with my eating patterns. people here (porteños), are opportunistic feeders and sleepers - you do these things when you can and they are available. again, i am just going with the flow. i seem to sleep 5 hours most nights, and have a 2 hour nap during the days while the heat is intense.

    yesterday, i spent some time with a fellow motorcyclist (argentinian) named pablo. he's just finished riding the americas, and is planning to circumnavigate africa next year. he is a friend of another adv rider, david, i met in santiago. the motorcycle family continues to grow.

    we met for lunch, but he got a call from his mechanic that sounded urgent so we went off in his sisters car to villa adelina, a neighborhood about 20 minutes northwest of the city.

    we arrived at a non-descript residence, banged on the garage door, and his mechanic, dario opened up his shop. dario is a honda certified technician, and apparently quite sought after. pablo owns a honda transalp 700 with nearly 100,000 miles. he'd had an engine failure recently, and dario wanted to pull the engine apart while he was there. well, as you see, pablo's bike is dead. i don't know much about engines but i know enough to confirm this fact. one of the exhaust valve stems had separated from the cap, and caused a cataclysm of damage including a puncturing of the top of the cylinder head.

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    dario & pablo with dead honda transalp, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dead honda transalp, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dead honda transalp, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    dead honda transalp, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i met up with pablo and some buddies for an "after-office" later last night around 9pm. why something that starts at 9pm and goes to 3am is called "after office" i still don't know. i know for a fact no one is working until 9pm around here. the club, madero rail, was located in porto madero, a neibgborhood about a 20 minute taxi ride ($60.00 pesos/$10.00 USD) to the southeast of my neighborhood, palermo soho.

    at the club, i spent a few hours attempting to converse with people. i suppose the effort in español is appreciated, and i did repeat my common spiel several times - estoy montando mi moto alrededor de suramémica, etc (i'm riding my motorcycle around south america, etc, etc…) but after a while of only spanish, i seem to get very frustrated that i don't understand much of what is being said after the topic of conversation drifts into other areas. i find that after a while, my brain simply turns off and i go find a quiet corner to use my eyes.

    tonight, i'm off to tango lessons at an off-the-beaten-path milonga run by a couple friends of the b&b i'm staying at. it's a place where the professional dancers go after they do their performances for the tourists in other places. i'm excited, but my tango skills are very limited. it's a challenging, and very subtle dance. i'll do my best.

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    avenida 9 de julio, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    puente de la mujer, porto madero, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #46
  7. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,344
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    left coast
    Nicely done.
    Love the reporting style and photos.
    :clap:clap
    #47
  8. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
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    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    great report! i'm late to the party, but i'm still IN! :freaky
    #48
  9. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    last night a fight broke out at the tango club. i had nothing to do with it.

    i figured if there was one thing i was obliged to do while in buenos aires, it would be to head out to a milonga, or tango club. this is something that is quintessentially of buenos aires, and defines the experience of living in or visiting this place. when i first arrived, david and zoe arranged for a tango lesson on their balcony for myself and some guests. i met gustavo and jorgelina, a couple who teach. they invited me to the milonga where they have classes on thursday nights.

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    la catedral milonga, almagro, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the club - la catedral - was a very friendly place. very casual and very approachable. it's a converted warehouse, with odd art hung on the walls. there is a 15 foot tall representation of a human heart hanging from the ceiling that glows red. it's off the beaten path, not like the tourist shows that most gringos see. these were real porteños out for a night of dancing with their friends and families.

    i took the tango course with jorgelina. i have to say that i'm starting to understand the dance. i'd taken classes about 3 years ago in portland, but it never stuck. something about being here in BA is helping with the retention. i feel more responsible for what i'm being taught, out of respect for the culture and the strong tradition.

    the lesson ended, and a live 4 piece band began to set up for the open dance that was about to begin. already, some pros were working the floor while the band prepped. there was an old man with a tall beautiful young woman. you could tell by the way he moved her around that he was respected on the dance floor. she was challenged by his skill, but she was also talented. i was transfixed on them, it was very relaxing to watch them move from my darkened seat against the wall, in the back.

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    la catedral milonga, almagro, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the singer of the band was very attractive blonde women in a tight black dress, probably in her late twenties. she was a performer, probably from the gringo tango circuit - maybe on an off night at la cathedral. but her voice was incredible and the band was amazing.

    there was a table of spanish-speaking tourists in front of me. between songs, people would applaud and pound on the tables in respect. a gentleman in front of me said something that caught the singer's ear between songs. i think he was just trying to get into the spirit, but she didn't like the sound of it. she walked away from the microphone and over to his table. she looked him in the eye while everyone in the club looked on. she said something, that probably was not very nice. the table of tourists, men and women in their 30s, were shocked. the singer walked back to the microphone like nothing had happened. she's the brooding, self-tortured artist type - the kind that burn out quick in life. if i were to guess, i'd say she was high on something by the way she moved around between songs.

    a few songs passed, and the table in front of me and people around them were talking about what happened. i was still watching the dancers, they moved beautifully. i lost track of the gentlemen who'd been confronted by the singer.

    then after the next song, there was a commotion out in the hallway near the bathroom. there were men chasing other men, moving back and forth. i saw punches being thrown. i saw them go to the ground i think. another man came out to the dancefloor from that area and yelled something, likely "hey get in here these guys are fighting." the confronted tourists then walks across the dancefloor back to his table after a couple of minutes of turned heads and gasps. he's dripping blood from his nose as he walks back to his seat. he begins to yell, something about he going to get the police... this is all in spanish and i'm trying to piece it all together.

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    la catedral milonga, almagro, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    the bombshell singer runs across the dance floor, half restrained by the bass player following behind her. she hurls a few choice insults i don't understand, but they are beautifully spoken, with as much talent as her singing. i was fascinated. i hear the verb "matar" (to kill). she clearly wasn't a very happy girl. she's lead away. the bloody guy gets up and walks out, presumably to get the police. the dj puts some music on and after a few seconds, there are 2, 3, 5 couples on the dance floor, trying to get on with their night.

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    la catedral milonga, almagro, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i couldn't have been happier with that milonga, as it was extremely entertaining and an experience i will never forget. maybe it will help set the tango that i learned into my memory? if you are in BA, check this place out. it's not a seedy place, it was just a weird night.
    #49
  10. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,408
    Location:
    Oregon
    Very interesting stories. Things you will never forget. Thanks for sharing.
    #50
  11. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    971
    Location:
    Santa Monica CA
    Great photos & posts
    Thank you
    #51
  12. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    firstly, sorry for the lack of interesting pictures. i keep forgetting to take them, because i'm usually too into whatever i'm doing to remember to take them. secondly, it's late and right now this post feel more like a chore than anything else. so prepare for some uninspired writing...

    i wish i could have stayed longer in buenos aires. it's a fascinating city. i would like to return for a longer period of time. i could see myself living there.

    on my final day, i did a parilla tour, which was a good way to let someone else steer the ship to give myself a break for a few hours. with a group of 9 people, we walked around to some off-the-beaten-path local parillas.

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    parilla tour, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    parilla tour, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    that evening, i took a tour of the palacio barolo. from wikipedia:

    The Palacio Barolo was designed in accordance with the cosmology of Dante's Divine Comedy, motivated by the architect's admiration for Alighieri. There are 22 floors, divided into three "sections". The basement and ground floor represent hell, floors 1-14 are the purgatory, and 15-22 represent heaven. The building is 100 meters (328 feet) tall, one meter for each canto of the Divine Comedy. The lighthouse at the top of the building can be seen all the way in Montevideo, Uruguay. When completed in 1923 it was the tallest building, not only in the city, but also in the whole of South America.

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    palacio barolo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    palacio barolo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    palacio barolo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    view of congress from palacio barolo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    view of city from palacio barolo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    tour guide on top of palacio barolo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    searchlight on top of palacio barolo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    after the tour, it was off to one of the best hunks of cow i've ever put in my mouth at la brigada, a place known to host the likes of famous soccer players, bono, etc. i was joined for dinner by denise, an argentine who went to college in virginia with my cousin, and her friend tim, an american from north of san francisco vacationing in buenos aires as he has for many years. great company and great conversation.

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    la brigada restaurant, san telmo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    bar circa 1889, san telmo, palacio barolo, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    while traffic was lighter on sunday, i drove north out of the city toward gualeguaychú, argentina. it's on the border with uruguay, and has the first available land crossing over the very large river that separates argentina and buenos aires from uruguay. you can take a 1-hour or a 3-hour ferry, but why would you do that when you have a super fast sexy motorcycle.

    gualeguaychú is also the location for argentina's carnival celebrations, and a party destination for summering argentines. it was a bit more than i expected when i arrived, with river beachs packed solid as far as the eye could see. i crossed a bridge over to the more mellow side, where i found a cabana on the river shore for about 50.00 USD. i stepped out of my door onto a calm beach resort where there was a reggae band playing jimmy cliff and bob marley songs. i grabbed a quilmes beer and chilled out after a long day on the bike.

    farewell for now argentina - see you in a few weeks when i get back from brazil.

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    argentine flag, buenos aires, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #52
  13. tricepilot

    tricepilot El Gran Payaso

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,168
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Very tasty ride report
    #53
  14. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    last night, while sitting at the hostel playa mansa, just west of punta del este, i accepted how frustrated i've become in the last few days with my spanish. i can communicate the basics easily. the frustration has come into play when meeting new people, and wanting to integrate myself into conversations. once we are the past the point in the conversation where i have explained who i am, where i am from, and what i am doing, the conversation becomes more organic, and i get lost. i met some amazingly nice people from uruguay, spain, and argentina at the hostel, but i was eventually reduced to the guy sitting at the table saying nothing and wishing i could follow the threads of conversation. they were nice, and occasionally asked me something, but then i'd loose the context again and get even more frustrated.

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    hostel playa mansa, punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i eventually had to get up and go for a walk, explaining that i was tired. i'm not good and 'not being good at things.' and it's true, i was tired. it's exhausting, difficult work to come into a new town everyday, get your bearings, figure out where to eat, where to stay, and what to do - knowing all the while that you should be planning at the very least for the next day, if not further out, by calling ahead to reserve hostels, checking maps for routes, asking questions of locals about where to go, etc. this may seem like 24/7 fun to those of you following along, but any of you who have done this kind of traveling know that it is work. i'm trying to take it easy on myself, as i'm usually my own worst critic. the dog understood me. i understood him.

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    hostel playa mansa, punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i'll be switching over to portuguese in a few days when i land in brazil, so that will be helpful. but i know i'll encounter the same frustration again in that language. it makes me wish that i had spent the last several years in intensive language courses, and that is a lesson that i will take back to the states with me - never stop learning languages ever again. i'm out of college, i have no excuses for not continuing to learn. maybe i should get back on my liquid confidence diet with a uruguay favorite:

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    cerveza patricia, classico del uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    this clock from my bungalow in gualeguaychú pretty much sums it up:

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    a high-class quartz clock, gualeguaychú, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    now that we've got that out of the way....

    the drive from gualeguaychú, argentina to punta del este, uruguay was full of more rolling farmland, scorched by the strong summer sun. the riding gear, while safe, is hot as hell. just a pair of cotton cargo pants and a t-shirt would be hot as hell. the triumph engine is like an oven. i'm riding an oven on wheels across the sun-blasted plains of south america!

    the border crossing was only 30 minutes ride from gualeguaychú. they allowed payment in argentine pesos or uruguay pesos. i had some argentines left over. very cheap, i think about $15 USD, roughly. super fast, super easy crossing in 30 minutes. i know they won't all be this way, so i reveled in it.

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    argentina - urugruay border, fray bentos, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    fray bentos, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    fray bentos, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    some boring flat landscape gave way to undulating hills and slightly cooler temperatures. eventually, i hit the coast. i wanted to land on the coast well to the east of punta, so that i could get a feel for the price of hostels as i approached the city center. i would stop and ask occasionally, to build a record. it is the high of high season here, and my private room at the hostel playa mansa pictured before was $100 USD!

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    punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    now i'm in punta proper, downtown in the "puerto", and the cost is the same. this is not the place for the budget moto adventurer - at least not in the summer. but i want to experience this place for a day, so i forked it over. hostel 828 is a well-run place, more like a large b&b than a hostel. it's right in the middle of the action, 5 minutes walk from the main beach. my bike is parked right on the patio and the rain cover is flopping around in a growing wind.

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    hostel 828, punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    hostel 828, punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    a storm is rolling in right now, caused by all the heat. there is lighting and thunder, and a strong smell of ozone in the air. i haven't seen a good thunderstorm since i left iowa 7 years ago, so i'm signing off to go for a run on the beach in the rain. i need the exercise, and i think also to blow off a little steam myself, not so unlike a hot day that needs the rain.

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    los dedos (fingers), punta del este, uruguary by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    portrait of a gringo, playa punta del este, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #54
  15. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,408
    Location:
    Oregon
    On my days in Uruguay, I used to call this beer the Patri-Scotch.
    Good memories.
    #55
  16. Radioman

    Radioman Moto rider

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,211
    Location:
    HOME (at least for now)
    These are important details of moto traveling that are great to share. We have all been there! Your experiences are certainly changed by who you meet and how you interact with them. Common language can really help!

    It is all part of the experience! Good job on your RR! We must have passed in the night..... Ride Safe Fritz!
    #56
  17. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    whatever funk i was in a couple of days ago has passed. the exodus from tourist hell was a good move. punta del este would have been beautiful in the off-season. but right now in the heart of summer when argentines are all on holiday for the month of january it was a bit much for me. to many people trying to look wealthier than they really are, and too many wealthy people slumming around with the less fortunate. an unfortunate mix in a beautiful setting.

    i'd heard good things about punta del diablo (devil's point), which was about a 3 hour drive up the coast.

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    the main drag, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i took the coastal road, which was at times packed red dirt. there was a break in the road where a ferry crossing was required. the triumph likes boats.

    i stopped off at some fancy resort out in the middle of nowhere for a late breakfast of ceviche octopus, shrimp, some kind of local fish. very tasty. i got a sales pitch, as some important, rich argentine put a lot of money into subdividing the resort, laying down utilities, and so forth. he got about $25 USD back on his investment from me, and i got a fancy, full-color brochure telling me why i should buy a lot there and build a house next to a bunch of other rich people. good ceviche.

    the rest of the drive was fantastic today. in and out of farmland, dotty with palm trees. cows and sheep never had it better. the air was cool, as the sea was close all day. no problem being in my full riding suit.

    i stopped in several little beach town on the way up north to p.d. diablo. i particularly liked a little town called agues dulces (sweet waters). there is a small road off the path north that veered into the town and ends at the beach. i like roads that end at the beach. i didn't try the sweet water, but i did have a uruguayan "pilsen" beer for a carb kick at lunch. if i had more time to spare, i would have stayed there and hung out in the one bar in town. people were swarming the tiger, eager to talk about her fuel range, velocidade, and how much she cost. i always embellish the speed up (over 200 kmh), and the price down.

    today was a reggae day, because of the approach to the small beach towns. the previous day when i was a bit depressed was a steely dan day. steely dan's music reminds me of being an american - it represents some of what is great about my country of birth. pure, free, creative, and a bit weird. it perked me up when i needed a boost.

    as i drifted further north into uruguay, almost to the brazilian border, the palm trees increased in frequency.

    punta del diablo is a unique place. it was described as hippie, but that doesn't quite do it justice. there is a small dirt street that winds into town from the main highway. it feels like an organized community of shacks. the beach is beautiful. argentines, brazilians are mixed in with uruguayans. everyone here has a smile on there face because this place doesn't allow for anything else. it would be worth a flight from the us just to hang out in this city for a week or two.

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    fisherman's boat reel, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    i live behind this restaurant, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    the main drag, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    nothing is perfect here. it's all kind of thrown together. and that's what makes it great. the locals are relaxed and friendly. i pulled up next to the prefecture (police station), and walked across to a guy selling a bunch of hippie goods on the street. i was dead set riding into town on having a place right on the beach. i asked him if he knew how to organize that. he yelled at a young girl that was out on the beach, 20 feet away. she ran up and i asked if she had 'habitaciones'. she walked me back through a narrow dirt path to a complex of oddly-strung-together cinder block buildings. my deluxe sweet was waiting for me, like it was built poorly with my stay in mind. "si, esta perfecto," i said. $30 USD/night. now we are talking!

    [​IMG]
    kickin' it on the stoop, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    out my front door, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    pescador, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    it's a total dump, and i love it. i'm 30 steps from a beautiful beach. everyone is walking around in board shorts and flip flops. there is the same puerto rican hip-hop blaring in the air you hear everywhere down here, a band called calle 13. there's pot smoke in the air. empanadas a plentiful and cheap.

    [​IMG]
    the main drag, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    hay muchos empanadas, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    i tossed off my stinky, sweaty riding gear. i had my board shorts on underneath all day. i locked my room, and went to the ocean. i walked out into the ocean, and dove into the first wave big enough to consume my excessive german mass. i'm done showering with soap for a few days while i stay here. the salt will clean away the filth on my body and in my mind.

    a couple of guys running a little beach bar commented on my shemp howard 3 stooges tattoo. here, they are called the 'tres triflados." these two uruguayan brothers and i have something in common - we all grew up obsessed with the stooges. they also told me that in uruguay specifically, cement is not called cement. it's called portland. for portland cement. so i'm kind of famous here for my connection to portland cement. the blonde guy's name is nacho. that's easy to remember. nacho plays the accordian, and quite well.

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    nacho, e los otros, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    me & nacho, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    corlos, o cantador, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    nacho & carlos, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    tomando una caipirinha, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    later, i had a desire to cook my own meal. i miss my kitchen. i fact, i've forgotten all about my kitchen, my condo, my building, my life in the states. that's odd. no room in the brain for anything but the present at the moment. anyway, i went to the grocery, and struggled through the odd products until i decided on pasta. garlic, onion, noodles, olive oil, red pepper, mystery sausage, salt, red wine. a simple list for a simple meal. cooked it all up on a shitty camping stove in my shitty kitchen. listened to john coltrane and the sound of the waves crashing was another instrument.

    [​IMG]
    luxury bano, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    home sweet shack, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

    made a lot. took some to the guy out front. took two plates across the street to the 2 cops in the police station. pretty sure my bike will be fine now. made some new friends today.

    [​IMG]
    police station, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr


    punta del diablo, uruguay - thursday, january 31:

    woke up at 11am today, after going to bed at 10pm. there is always sleep debt to be made up for, so if i've got nowhere to go, i have no problem sleeping until i wake up. woke up and had a beer, because i forgot to get water last night. it's still hydration.

    put on some sunscreen, and went for a jog. apparently, people don't run on the beach here, but i wanted the exercise to burn off the carbs from the italian extravaganza from last night. my shoulders are fairly red, but i'm doing my best to control the cooking of my gringo flesh.

    my tasks for the day are done. i ran and worked out - 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 triceps presses on the edge of the bed. went for a 3-4 mile beach run, which feels more like 6 with the sand. i did my laundry again today - have to do it in the morning so it has time to dry on the line while the sun is strong. now i'm off to buy a sand mat for the beach, and some bread to make sandwiches with the mystery sliced meats, salame, and cheese i bought last night at the grocery.

    [​IMG]
    washing clothes, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    o perro, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr

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    balancing line, punta del diablo, uruguay by porkandcorn, on Flickr
    #57
  18. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,932
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    i simply LOVE your ride report. thank you!

    edit:

    some of your picture links in the above post are broken, at least for me they are.
    #58
  19. porkandcorn

    porkandcorn FortesFortunaAdiuvat

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    glad you are along for the ride!
    #59
  20. ProZac235

    ProZac235 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    62
    Very nice!
    #60