The Adventure Begins... Tejas A La Tierra

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by troyfromtexas, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    Paraguay in the 70's must have been something. Some of the places I visited seemed like they were time warped from the 70's. I believe that there are still Mennonites in the northeast US. The ones that I met in Paraguay were reserved at first, but once I started talking with them they really opened up. As I shared about my trip they would ask me a million questions. Many of the people rarely leave the surrounding area all their life. They seemed to be good, hardworking, religious people.
  2. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    From Puerto Iguazu, Argentina I traveled a short distance to Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.
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    There was an immigration and customs checkpoint that I passed through with no problems. I dropped my things off at a hostel and rode to the park on the Brazilian side.
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    I signed up for a tour of the park which included a ride in a tram and boat.
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    The guide took our group through a number of trails and pointed out unique characteristics of the flora and fauna.
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    But the real adventure began once we put on these life preservers.
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    We boarded a zodiac boat and headed down the Parana River.
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    It started out as a pretty calm ride down the river.
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    But we also passed through some rapids.
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    We were able to pass nearby the falls on the Argentinian side.
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    And passed by this complete rainbow.
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    And then we approached the falls up close and personal on the Brazilian side.
    See Video
    Here is a short 1 minute video about riding the zodiac boat through Iguazu Falls. We actually passed under the falls 3 or 4 times.
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    After the tour I hopped on a bus to visit another part of the falls.
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    I got off the bus and started walking along a trail.
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    I could see the falls in the distance.
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    As I got closer I caught a better view.
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    And then from this vantage point I could see almost the entirety of the falls on the Argentinian side.
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    I walked some more and caught glimpses of various falls on the Brazilian side.
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    I liked this image with the mist rising off the falls.
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    A different vantage point allowed me to look down the river.
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    At this location I was practically standing on top of the falls.
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    Another day... another sunset... over Iguazu Falls.
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    Iguazu Falls... one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

    For the complete story visit www.TheAdventureBegins.tv
  3. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    I left Foz do Iguacu and headed east.
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    Along the way I stopped at a gas station to fill up with gas and rest. I could tell that a few other motorcyclists had stopped at this station due to the large number of motorcyclists stickers on the window. It's a common thing in Brazil at certain resting points for motorcyclists to leave a sticker of their club, journey or sponsor.
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    Realizing that the gas station was probably friendly to motorcyclists I decided to ask them if I could change my oil in their maintenance garage. The said that it would be okay and even offered me a drip pan made out of an old plastic container. I did a quick change of the oil... then back onto the road... east.

    For more visit www.TheAdventureBegins.tv
  4. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    After a very long day of riding... probably 10 hours... I arrived into the town of Curitiba, Brazil.
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    While in Foz do Iguacu I met a fellow motorcyclist named Rodolfo. Rodolfo was in the process of starting a business and hostel for motorcyclists in Foz do Iguacu. His business is called The Biker's Help Desk. Stop by if you are in the neighborhood. Well, Rodolfo introduced me to his brother Roberto and they offered to let me stay at his brother's apartment in Curitiba. This is Roberto and his roommate Gaspar.
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    I took a tour of Curitiba. The city is a very modern and clean city. It looks as if it may have been master planned. The city has a nice system of mass transit, parks and commercial areas.
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    This is the botanical gardens.
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    The city center and cathedral.
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    I came across this production being filmed on a Red camera.
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    The city center historical district.

    Church

    Water fountain and sculpture

    Blooming tree in the city center

    Paiol Theatre

    Parana Pine Tree

    Arab memorial and museum

    The Mercado Municipal was perhaps the best market that I visited in all my travels.

    They had all sorts of goods.

    Fresh fruits and vegetables.

    Sauces

    Dried goods

    Seafood

    Wine

    They even had an organic section with fresh produce

    And a very nice food court within the market.

    I just stayed for a short time in Curitiba, because I was anxious to visit the Brazilian coast.

    For the complete story with photos visit Curitiba
  5. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    While in Curitiba, I visited the Oscar Niemeyer Museum. The museum focuses on the visual arts, architecture and design. It is also known as Museu do Olho or Museum of the Eye, due to the design of the building.

    Oscar Niemeyer was a Brazilian architect who is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. Niemeyer was best known for his design of civic buildings for Brasília, a planned city which became Brazil's capital in 1960, as well as his collaboration with other architects on the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. His exploration of the aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete was highly influential on the architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
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    After visiting the museum I must say that I was more impressed with the design of the exterior building that the collection of art.
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    I also took a walk around Curitiba and saw some pretty interesting street art.

    For the full story with photos visit The Novo Museu
  6. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    When I think of Brazil, I think of miles and miles of coast and beautiful beaches. I was ready for a little sun and fun. So, from Curitiba I headed due east to the coast. My destination was the Ilha do Mel (Island of Honey).
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    I rode about 120km to a small town on the coast called Ponta do Sul. In Ponta do Sul I found a pay-by-the-day garage and parked my moto. I think that it cost me about 15 Brazilian Reales. Then I walked down the street and caught a ferry. On Ilha do Mel... no vehicles are allowed.
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    The ferry ride was a short ride across a bay that lasted about 30 minutes.
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    There were basically three small towns on Ilha do Mel... Fortaleza, Brasilia and Encantadas. I landed in Encantadas.
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    When the road ended, the adventure began on foot.
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    No worries... all the roads on the island were actually sand trails.

    Encantadas seemed to consist of a scattering of houses, a few small hotels and a few restaurants all interlinked by the sand trails.

    A typical colorful house.

    A typical restaurant.

    A nice little hotel.
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    It was the middle of the week and there were not many tourists on the island. I think that I spotted maybe six. On my first day on Ilha do Mel I decided to take a walk to the other side of the island... I followed this sand trail.

    It opened up to the ocean.

    I walked a little further along some marsh and sand dunes.

    I found a trail that passed over a hill and by a rock outcropping.
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    The trail led to a secluded beach.

    On the far side of the secluded beach I found La Gruta das Encantadas (Cavern of Enchantment).
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    I walked on and found this picturesque cove.

    The sun started to set in the west.

    I headed back to town by a pathway through some grasslands.
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    Back in Encantadas, I enjoyed a dinner of shrimp, fries, carrots, beats, tomatoes, rice and feijao (beans).

    The next day I decided to explore a little more of the island.

    I headed down a different trail.

    Crossed a few beaches and hills... came across this cross.
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    Passed by this shrine by the sea.

    Sea urchins in a tide pool.

    Mollusks clinging to the rocks.

    Lichen on the rocks.

    A mollusk shell in the tide.

    A sand dollar in the tide.

    A crab in the tide.

    A sand sculpture of sorts.
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    Actually I came across this group of people combing the beach. I stopped and talked with them for a while. The man held a long tube with a suction pump. He would walk along the beach, then poke the tube into the sand and pull the suction pump. He would then release the pump and the contents would be released. Turns out they were combing the beach for some shell fish.
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    They were collecting these little camerao (shrimp).

    In the middle of the island at one outcropping there was the Farol das Conchas (lighthouse)

    I hiked up the hill to get a closer look.

    The lighthouse was constructed in 1870.

    From the lighthouse, I could look to the left and see the west side of the island.

    I could look to the right and see the east side of the island.

    I continued with my walk along the beach.
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    I came across a little village and this wooden fishing boat.

    Sea gulls fishing in the marsh.

    A young boy, his brother and a bicycle on the beach.
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    At the far north end of the island is a fort.

    The Fortaleza Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres.

    The fort was constructed in 1769

    It contained a courtyard surrounded by thick walls.

    The walls had cobblestone walkways

    There were a number of antique canons positioned to protect the fort

    The fort was surrounded by the tropical jungle.

    There was even a jail within the fort.

    And the front entrance to the fort had a pretty scenic view of the ocean.

    Around the back of the fort there was another trail.
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    The trail led to a battery with more modern artillery weapons.

    There were some stone trenches dug into the mountainside.

    I walked within the labyrinth of trenches.

    A pathway of a different kind.

    From the battery, I could look down upon the fort.

    As the day drew long, I headed back to Encantadas.
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    The next day I hung out in the town and watched some fishing vessels return to the port.

    Soon enough, it was time for me to catch the ferry back to the mainland and leave Ilha do Mel.
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    Taking only pictures and leaving only footprints.

    For the full story with photos visit Ilha do Mel
  7. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    I am going to start counting sand dollars as part of my wealth... making me a very wealthy man to date.
  8. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    If anyone is interested I'm posting daily the video highlights of the 2013 Dakar Rally on my website... www.TheAdventureBegins.tv
  9. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    Okay, I'm going to try to finish up this tale of adventure within the next few days. Here it goes...
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    From Florianopolis I headed north to Sao Paulo. Not much scenery along the way. It was a two lane highway with lots of cars and big trucks. It was a long day of riding... I think maybe 9 or 10 hours. I arrived into the city just as it was turning dark. Luckily the hostel allowed me to pull my motorcycle into the lobby to park it. I checked into the hostel, ate some street food and went to sleep.
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    The next day, I left my moto at the hostel and set off on foot... and subway.
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    São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere, and the world's eighth largest city by population.

    The first place I visited was the Edificio Italia (Italian Building). It is a tall skyscraper that allows visitors to ascend in an elevator and look out the windows for a pretty magnificent panoramic view of the city.

    As I arrived into the city, I could sense that the air quality was not the best. When I looked out over the city and saw all the smog I could understand why. But there were some interesting architecture.
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    I walked around a bit and passed through this railway station. The design of the station was classic. There were huge arcs spanning the interior forming the ceiling, elegant brick masonry, light posts and an abundance of iron craft around the balconies and walkways.
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    I decided to check out one of the museums... the Pinaocteca do Estado.
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    The museum's collection consisted mostly of contemporary art.
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    This giant plate of people made me happy for some reason. The plate was probably about 8 feet in diameter.
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    I was a bit entranced by this collection of chromatic art.

    Of course, the photos do not represent the real visual experience of seeing the art in person.

    Trust me, it was very alive.
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    Also, I did find a few oil paintings that I really enjoyed.

    This collection of oil paintings really seemed to capture rural life in Brazil's past.
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    I made another stop at the Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market).

    It was a bustling market with everything a foodie could possibly want.

    Wine

    Olive oil

    Seafood

    Spices

    Fruits

    Cheese

    Cured items

    Preserves

    Fresh meats
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    And a nice dining area to enjoy all the delicacies.
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    I continued walking around the city admiring some of the buildings.

    There seemed to be an abundance of sculptures

    I only spent two days in Sao Paulo. After spending so much time on secluded beaches, I was not really feeling the vibe of the city. Plus, there was somewhere else that I really wanted to visit... Rio!

    For the full story with photos see Sao Paulo
  10. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    From Sao Paulo I headed east. The countryside turned into gentle rolling green hills.
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    Still, almost the entire ride was along a two lane highway.
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    I rarely pulled over to take photos out of fear that one of the big trucks might roll right over me.
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    After about six hours of riding I reached... Rio de Janeiro!
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    Rio de Janeiro commonly referred to simply as Rio is the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area in South America.
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    Rio boasts approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th largest in the Americas, and 26th in the world.
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    Rio is nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa or "Marvelous City". Granted on 1 July 2012 in the category Cultural Landscape, Rio de Janeiro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea".

    It is easy to see why.
  11. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    A normal day in Rio involves dressing casual and taking the subway. Today I was taking the subway... then a bus... to arrive at the Parque Nacional da Tijuca.
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    On my second day in Rio, I met a few locals through Couchsurfing.org and we went on a hike in the park. There was Me, Partick, Augusto, Mario and Thatiana.
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    Mario led us down some trails.
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    Around some obstacles
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    We were amongst the trees
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    Even got inside one
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    Found a waterfall
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    Even went for a dip in the water.
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    Then it was back to the city. All in a normal day in Rio.
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    I decided to stay outside of the main tourist areas of Ipanema and Copacabana and chose to stay in the working class neighborhood of Tijuca. This is a park near the subway station. These guys are flying little kites.
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    There is a bit of a kite battle going one to see if one person can cut the line of another person. It's really quite an impassioned past time in Tijuca.
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    Ahhhh... Rio!
  12. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    In the hostel at which I was staying I met a traveler from Germany named Franziska. I just called her Franzi. We decided to check out some of the major attractions in Rio and be typical tourists.
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    The first stop was Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer.
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    The Cristo Redentor is a statue of Jesus of Nazareth in Rio. It is considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world and the 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world. It is 30.1 metres (99 ft) tall, not including its 6 metres (20 ft) pedestal, and 19 metres (62 ft) wide. It weighs 635 tonnes (625 long,700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city. A symbol of Brazilian Christianity, the statue has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed between 1926 and 1931.
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    We bought tickets and waited in line with all the other tourists.
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    After boarding the tram we ascended the Corcovado Mountain.
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    We passed through the Tijuca Forest.
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    It was a cloudy day, but we could still see parts of the city
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    We debarked from the tram and ascended a walkway. There were some unusual trees in this park.
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    As we climbed we caught the first glimpse of the Cristo.
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    And then... there He was... pretty impressive... arms stretched out...
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    I just wanted to give Him a hug.
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    The skies cleared...
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    Just in time for all the other tourists to get in front of my photo. There were lots and lots of tourists. It was not exactly a private spiritual moment. It was more like a Disneyworld moment. We hung around for a while taking photos... but then it was time to leave.
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    The next attraction that we wanted to visit was the Pão de Açúcar or Sugarloaf Mountain.
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    To reach the summit of Sugarloaf we took a teleferico (gondola/cable car). The first segment of the journey ascends to the shorter Morro da Urca, 220 meters high.
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    The second segment of the journey ascends to Pão de Açúcar. The Italian-made bubble-shaped cars offer passengers 360-degree views of the surrounding city. The climb takes three minutes from start to finish.
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    Sugarloaf Mountain is a peak situated at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 metres (1,299 ft) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of a concentrated refined loaf of sugar.
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    The name "Sugar Loaf" was coined in the 16th century by the Portuguese during the heyday of sugar cane trade in Brazil. According to historian Vieira Fazenda, blocks of sugar were placed in conical molds made of clay to be transported on ships. The shape given by these molds was similar to the peak, hence the name.
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    Once we arrived at the top, we had some pretty spectacular views of the coastline.
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    We could see the city below.
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    And the harbor which contained a number of sailboats.
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    And off in the distance... when the clouds cleared... for just a brief moment...
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    We could see the Cristo.
  13. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    Here are a collection of stories of my time in Rio de Janeiro.

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    On another day, Franzi and I decided to check out the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden) in Rio. See the full story.
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    I heard about a free walking tour of Rio and decided to join. Cassio, the guy in the middle, was our tour guide for the day. See the full story.
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    I went for a walk around the city and found this street art (graffiti). Look closely... not everything is as it seems. I saved the best for the last. See the full story.
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    In the historical area of Rio there are a number of churches, museums and architectural buildings that I found interesting. See the full story.
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    I took the Metro (subway) to Ipanema to check out the Feria Hippie (Hippie Market) and the famous Ipanema Beach. See the full story.
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    I connected with a group of Brazilians and took a trip to Ilha Grande (The Big Island). From Rio we took a chartered bus ride and then a boat ride to reach the island. See the full story.
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    I saw a promotion for the Festival do Rio (Rio Film Festival). I thought that it would be worth my time to stay in Rio a little longer to check it out. See the full story.
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    I met up with some friends to hike to Pedra Bonita (Pretty Rock). See the full story.
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    I went to a picnic organized by some people from couchsurfing. There was a pretty good turnout with a variety of food and drink. As the sun set the picnic turned into a carnival romba party. See the full story.
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    My original plan was to stay in Rio de Janeiro for a month, to get to know the city and to try to learn Portuguese. After staying a month in Rio, I realized that it would not be enough time. So I decided to stay an extra month to get a better feeling for the place. I settled into an apartment in the neighborhood of Tijuca. See the full story.
  14. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    A trip to Rio de Janeiro would not be complete without a visit to the famous beaches. In fact, I had the opportunity to visit the beaches a number of times. For the full story see Copacabana and Ipanema.
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    I met up with some friends, a Brazilian named Jordan and a Russian named Yuliya, and we decided to check out a Brazilian football (soccer) game. The teams were Fluminense versus Gremio. I'm really not that much of a football fan, but I felt that I would never be able to understand Brazilians until I went to one of their football matches. Brazilians are fanatical about football. Jordan just happened to be a big Fluminense fan. For the full story see Fluminense vs Gemio
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    I passed by the Museum of Modern Art in Rio and outside there was this large iron art piece that was probably 30 feet long and 10 feet wide. For the full story see Outside Art

    See the video

    In Rio de Janeiro, it seems that music, dancing and celebrating life are an integral part of life. For the full story see Always Music
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    I decided to take a day trip and rode my motorcycle to the town of Petropolis. It was a beautiful clear and crisp day... and the road was twisty. For the full story see Petropolis
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    In Brazil, when there is an official day-off before or after a weekend, it is called feriado (holiday). On one feriado some friends and I took a trip to the ocean side resort town of Buzios. For the full story see Buzios
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    The Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue overlooks the entire city of Rio de Janeiro. From the favelas (slums) to fancy skyscrapers. Under the watchful view of the Cristo is the artsy neighborhood of Santa Teresa. For the full story see Santa Teresa.
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    A Brazilian friend of mine told me that one of the most beautiful areas in the country is the state of Minas Gerais. Another friend mentioned that the best food in the country originates from Minas Gerais. Well, I had to check it out for myself... off to Minas Gerais. For the full story see Minas Gerais.
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    Back in Rio de Janeiro, I decided to check out a Brazilian Churrascaria named Carretao. A churrascaria is a restaurant that specializes in grilled and roasted meats cooked on a spit or skewer. Generally, the waiters carry spits of meat around to each table and offer the patrons a taste. Many of them offer all-you-can-eat service. I sat and ate. For the full story see Meat.
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    On a clear day in Rio de Janeiro one can look across the bay... and in the distance... one can see on the other side... the city of Niteroi. In Niteroi... there is a hill where people jump off the edge... and parapente (paraglide). I had to go check it out. For the full story see Flying.
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    My time in Rio de Janeiro was coming to an end. My friend Roxanne and I thought that it would be a fun idea to share a little taste of Texas with some of our friends. So... we hosted a TexMex dinner party. For the full story see TexMex Dinner.
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    While in Rio de Janeiro, I often traveled by the metro (subway)... and discovered this underground art. For the full story see Underground
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    There was a film that I read about online that I wanted to watch. It was showing in an area called Cinelandia in the central area of the Rio de Janeiro. The film was screening at a place called the Centro Cultural Justicia Federal (Federal Justice Cutural Center). I ended up watching the film, but it is what I discovered inside the building that I found truly amazing. The best part is the last part. For the full story see The Centro Cultural.

    See the video

    While living in Rio de Janeiro, I rarely rode my motorcycle around the city. To me, the roads often felt like a maze and the traffic felt oppressive. However, I did take a few excursions outside of the city by motorcycle. It always seemed easy to leave the city, but to return to the city posed problems. It seemed like there was always lots of traffic flowing into the city. So... when in Rio... I often found myself riding like the Cariocas... Splitting Lanes. For the full story see Splitting Lanes.
  15. icedmocha

    icedmocha Adventurer

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    The Brazilian Churrascaria is making my mouth water.
  16. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    It has that effect on people.
  17. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

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    An Adventure should be exciting,
    It should tease the senses,
    It should challenge the norm,
    It should be risky,
    It should introduce one to fascinating people.
    It should taste spicy
    It should smell fragrant
    It should make one stand in awe,
    It should bring one to his knees in humility,
    It should etch unforgettable images in the mind
    It should take ones breath away,
    It should replenish the soul,

    When the surroundings appear common,
    When the names and faces become a blur,
    When the food becomes bland,
    When the smells are pungent,
    When a sunset just signifies the end of the day,
    When the road ends and there is nowhere else to go,
    The Adventure Ends.
  18. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Texas
    [​IMG]
    My time in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil was coming to an end. It was time to go home. I could feel it in my heart. And, I needed to figure out how to bring Emi, my motorcycle, with me. I was considering selling Emi in South America at the end of my trip. However, Emi had been such a good ride that I really did not want to leave her behind. I decided that I would take her back home with me.

    I inquired with a few air cargo companies in Brazil to see what it would require and what it would cost to ship my moto from Rio to Houston. One company told me up front that they simply could not do it. A second company gave me a quote that was simply outrageous. The last company gave me a quote that was incomplete and could not promise a shipment date. It looked like it was going to cost over $2000 to ship my moto out of Brazil and there was still a chance that there would be some mystery fees at the port. It was not looking promising.

    I looked into an alternative. I knew about a place in Buenos Aires called Dakar Motors. They have helped many motorcyclists over the years import and export motos in and out of South America. I sent Dakar Motors an email and requested a quote. They replied within 2 days with an estimate of $1750 and said that the shipment could be accomplished within a week of drop off.

    So... it was time to hit the road... Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires.

    According to my map it would be 2922km (1815 miles) and an estimated 5 days of riding. That is a distance roughly equivalent to riding from San Francisco, California to Austin, Texas... a nice little leisure ride... let the adventure begin!
    [​IMG]
    First I rode from Rio de Janeiro to Curitiba... 850km and an estimated 12 hours in the saddle. I arose early in the morning at 7am and hit the road. I watched Rio de Janeiro disappear in my rear view mirror. Some great memories in that city. I reached the outskirts of Sao Paolo by mid day. I thought that I was making good time, then got caught up in the maze of freeways within Sao Paolo. I probably lost 1 or 2 hours getting through the city. Once I broke away from the city it was easy riding. I arrived in Curitiba at about 8pm... it was a full day of riding... the longest day of riding during my entire journey.
    [​IMG]
    I knew that the next segment that I would ride would be a fairly strait and easy segment. From Curitiba to Foz do Iguacu... 637km and an estimated 8 hours. Turns out that I knocked it out in 7 hours. I checked into a hostel and planned my route for the next day. I knew that I would have to cross the border and hoped that it would all go smooth.
    [​IMG]
    I decided that I would cross the border and ride until I got tired. I crossed the border on the Brazilian side with little trouble. As I was processing my motorcycle paperwork to enter Argentina I noticed that the aduanas (customs) officer typed in my VIN (chassis) number incorrectly. He typed in my title number instead of the chassis number. I pointed out the mistake. He said that it would not matter. He said that he was the chief at the station and if there was a problem I could give his office a call. He refused to make the correction. I felt uneasy... I decided that I would take my chances and rolled away.

    I eventually rode from Foz do Iguacu to Santo Tome... 442km and and estimated 6 hours. The weather was perfect for riding... not too cold... not too hot. There was one segment of the road that was closed, so I had to take a little detour. It added some time to my ride, but it ended up that the views along the detour were really beautiful... sometimes it just works out like that.

    Santo Tome was a small town along the border of Argentina and Brazil. Across the border lie the town of Sao Borja. It appeared that there was not much going on in the town, but there was a casino. Gambling in Brazil is illegal, however it is legal in Argentina. I suppose that the casino existed so that Brazilians could cross the border and find a little entertainment. I dropped into the casino for an hour and walked away a winner... at least enough to pay for my hotel room.
    [​IMG]
    I started my fourth day with an early start once again. I traveled from Santo Tome to Concepcion del Uruguay... 697km and an estimated 8 hours.

    The ride was uneventful. I kept reminding myself to pay attention. I realized that my ride... my trip... my adventure was coming to an end. I did not want to let my guard down, but I found myself reflecting on all that had transpired over the past year.

    I arrived into Concepcion del Uruguay late in the afternoon. I rode around the town for a little while to see what I could see. Concepcion was a town along the Uruguay River. It attracted tourists from the small towns in the north and from the city in the south. For me, it was just a stop on my way to Buenos Aires. I found a hotel at which to stay and a restaurant at which to eat. I bedded down.
    [​IMG]
    The last ride of my ride. The last segment of my adventure would be from Concepcion del Uruguay to Buenos Aires... 296km and an estimated 3:30 hours. It would be an easy day. I would not even need to start early. I left Concepcion at around 9am and rode toward Buenos Aires. I was almost there!
    [​IMG]
    Well... almost.

    About 15 minutes outside of Concepcion I ran into a police checkpoint. I had passed many police checkpoints on my journey... never a problem. I pulled over and presented my documents. The policeman asked for my license, my permiso (temporary license) and my title. I turned all the documents over to him. He examined them, found them in order and returned them to me. Then he asked for my insurance. I turned over a copy of my insurance. It was actually my insurance policy from the USA. It was in English, not Spanish. I didn't think that it would matter. After some examination he returned the document to me. Then he said that the insurance was expired. Really!
    [​IMG]
    This was the first time in all of my travels that I had been asked for my insurance. The document that I had passed to the policeman did indicate that my insurance was expired. After all, I had been away for over a year. However, I did have a valid insurance document... but it was in electronic format in an email in cyberspace. It was not going to help me in this situation.

    So I thought to myself... This was just a shakedown. How far did he want to take this? How far did I want to go? How much was he going to ask for? How much was I willing to pay? I realized that it was early in the day. I had all day to reach Buenos Aires. Let's see who would have more game. So.... I decided to play along.

    I explained to the policeman that my insurance was valid, just that the document was expired. I explained that I could provide him a valid document if he would allow me to access the internet in his office. Predictably... he said NO.

    I asked him if I could return to Concepcion to visit an internet cafe to print out a valid document. He said... NO.

    I asked him if he would call the insurance company to verify that I had insurance. He said.. NO.

    I asked him how much the ticket would be for expired insurance. He said that it would be 817 Pesos (about US$185). I asked the officer that if he issued me a ticket, where would I have to go to pay the fine. He said that I would have to pay the fine in cash, today and directly to him... or he would be required to impound my motorcycle.

    At that moment I knew for sure that it was a shakedown. Let the game begin!

    There are many techniques that adventure motorcyclist use to get out of tickets. Some hire a fixer. Some pretend to not understand the language. Some slip a small amount of money into one's documents for the policeman to palm. Some provide lots of irrelevant documents and information. Some pretend to be sick. Some carry around legal documents. Some simply try to stall the conversation with the hope that after some time passes the policeman will eventually let them go... realizing that they could be extorting money from other vehicles.

    I usually pre-empt the situation and ask the policeman for assistance. I tried this technique, but it was not working. Therefore, I attempted to stall.

    I told him that I did not have that much cash. He said that he would have to impound my motorcycle. I asked him to explain the law about impounding my moto. He went into an explanation that basically ended with him stating that he would have to impound my moto. I asked if he could issue me a ticket that I could pay to the city government. He said...NO. I asked if I could pay at the next city. He said...NO. He pointed to a little shoe box in the corner of his office and said that I had to pay cash directly to him... today. I asked him a number of other questions. I could tell that he was getting frustrated. By this time, probably an hour had passed.

    Other cars were passing by and being pulled over for various traffic violations. Sometimes the police officers would write them a citation and they would continue on their way. Sometimes they would make a contribution to the little shoe box and continue on their way.
    [​IMG]
    I noticed that the police officers would often show the traffic violators a card. The card contained a list of violations, the amount of the corresponding fine, the al contado (in cash) discount of 25% and the price for paying in cash if one chose to take advantage of the "cash discount". Nice of them to do the calculation.

    I asked the policeman if I could see the violation card. Surprisingly he obliged. I looked it over and it was quite extensive... it listed all the options... just like a menu in a restaurant. Choose your violation... seguro obligatorio vencido... no uso de luces bajas... falta chapa patente... it went on and on.

    I pulled out my iPhone. When the policeman saw me, he asked what I was doing. I told him that I wanted to calculate how much my fine would be and convert the amount into US Dollars. I did the currency conversion calculation. Then, I snapped a picture of the menu... uh... violation card.
    [​IMG]
    And... I snapped a photo of the policeman... Officer Guilletti P.

    As you can see, I was holding the card in my hand to hide the fact that I was taking a photo.

    I thought to myself... Officer Guilletti you are in for a long day.... I have nothing but time.

    I had a million questions to ask Officer Guilletti. I asked him about the violation card. I asked him the difference between the fine of driving without insurance versus driving with expired insurance. I asked him about the al contado discount. I asked if he could translate a few words for me from spanish to english. I asked him about riding without lights. I asked him about the law. I asked him about the impound facility. I asked him if there was a supervisor that could explain the legal system to me. I asked him about the weather... I went on and on.

    By this time it was almost noon. We had been talking for over two hours. I knew that lunch time was approaching and that soon he and his crew would want to take a break for lunch. I could tell that he was visibly anxious.

    He wrote me a ticket.

    After some time, he finally said that I either had to pay the fine in cash or he would impound my motorcycle. I pulled out my wallet and showed him that all I had was 243 Pesos. I explained that I did not have the full amount in cash and asked if he would allow me to ride into Concepcion to get some money from an ATM.

    Amazingly... he agreed!

    I hopped on my moto and headed back to Concepcion. I rode strait to an internet cafe, logged on, downloaded my valid insurance document and printed two copies. I stopped by an ATM and withdrew 800 Pesos... just in case.

    I rode back to the police checkpoint. As Officer Guilletti saw me approaching he directed me to pull over. He looked really happy.

    He asked me if I had the money. I said that I had something better. I said that I had a copy of my valid insurance document... and handed him a copy.

    I watched his smile turn into a frown. He was fuuuuuuurious. He said... NO NO NO. He said that he had sent me back to Concepcion to get money. I played innocent. I said... but look I had proof that I had insurance... that's better, right?

    He handed me back my documents and told me to get out of his booth. Probably 3 hours had passed since I was first pulled over. His frustration was getting the best of him.

    At about this time, another policeman approached the group of policemen who were issuing the traffic violations. He called them into the main office to eat lunch. I could tell that he was their superior by the way the other officers responded to him. As the policemen were moving from the road into the main office, I approached the superior officer.

    I explained my situation. I told him that I was pulled over earlier in the day, that I presented all of my documents, that I presented my insurance document that was expired, but now I had my insurance document that was valid. I explained that the policeman had written me a ticket, but now would not tell me what I needed to do to cancel it. The officer took the ticket and said that he wold discuss the matter with the other officer.

    About 5 minutes later, Officer Guilletti returned outside. He directed me to his little booth. He said that he was going to help me out so that I could continue on with my journey. He said that he was going to reduce the fine of the ticket. I asked him what the fee would be. He said that it would be 243 Pesos.

    243 Pesos was the exact amount of money that I had previously shown him that I had in my wallet. Basically, he wanted all the money in my wallet. Ironically, when I went into the town to print out my insurance document I had to pay 2 Pesos for the internet service and the copies. So I actually only had 241 Pesos in my wallet, plus the other 800 Pesos that I had withdrawn from the ATM.

    I told the policeman that I appreciated his help and the "discount" on the fine. I said that I would like to say thank you to his supervisor for his assistance. At this point, I think that I broke Officer Guilletti.

    He asked me for my ticket. I handed it over. He wrote something in his ledger. Then he scribbled something on the ticket and said that this note would verify that the ticket was cancelled. He handed me the ticket and said that I was free to go.

    I asked if I still needed to pay anything. He said... NO.

    I didn't need to hear anything else. I hopped on my bike and rode off toward Buenos Aires.

    What an interesting day.

    Freeeeeeee!
  19. JackJack

    JackJack Dulce Periculum

    Joined:
    May 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    428
    Location:
    MN
    :clap Awesome!
  20. troyfromtexas

    troyfromtexas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    Texas
    [​IMG]
    Have you ever seen this wall? If you have traveled in South America by motorcycle there is a good chance that you may have seen it. It's a wall inside a business called Dakar Motors.

    Dakar Motors is a motorcycle garage, motorcycle hostel and motorcycle transport operation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The owners Javier and Sandra open up their doors to motorcyclists from all over the world and make them feel welcome. I had contacted Dakar Motors the prior week about arranging transport of my motorcycle from Buenos Aires to Houston. I arrived at 9am on Monday morning and the process began...
    [​IMG]
    First, I checked into the hostel. Really it was just a room in the back of the garage. There were two bunk beds with room for four people. There was a small kitchen. And, there was a swap shelf... a shelf with unneeded items left by other travelers for other travelers. There was only one other traveler staying in the room. He was a Britt just beginning his travels in South America. Of course we had lots to talk about and got along nicely.

    After settling into the hostel, Sandra and I went over the paperwork that would be required to transport my motorcycle.

    Sandra had already briefed me by email about all the papers and copies of papers that I would need to have ready. I had all my papers in order, but there was one small detail about which I had a question.

    When I crossed from Brazil to Argentina, the customs officer filled in my motorcycle title number in the place of my VIN chassis number. I asked Sandra if this would possibly cause a problem. She said... YES.
    [​IMG]
    So I was directed to the central office of customs to correct the problem.

    On Tuesday morning, I arrived to the customs office and waited in the invisible line. After some time passed, a clerk greeted me, took my papers, then said that she would be right back. I waited in the invisible line once again. After some time, the clerk said that her boss would be reviewing the request, but he would not be able to respond until after lunch. I left the office in search of some food.

    I returned to the customs office in the afternoon to check on the progress of my documents. I waited for a while in the invisible line, then after some time I was told that the boss would like to see me.

    I passed through to the other side and sat down in the office of the boss. We exchanged some pleasantries, then he apologized for the error that his staff had made when I entered Argentina. Wow... shocker. He was very nice and very accommodating. He placed a few phone calls, typed some notes into his computer keyboard, then printed a document.

    The documented basically stated... To Whom It May Concern... and verified the correct VIN chassis number for my motorcycle. Not too bad. It only took about 6 hours in total. Honestly, I thought that it might take days. Good thing that the boss was on the job.
    [​IMG]
    On Wednesday I went to this office building in the city center.
    [​IMG]
    Inside the offices of Navicon, my documentation was processed for the shipment of my motorcycle.
    [​IMG]
    I then went to the bank next door to withdraw the equivalent of US$1,600 in Argentinian Pesos. It was a huge wad of money to be carrying around in city. Luckily, I only had to walk next door to the office of Navicon once again to make payment.
    [​IMG]
    I presented my documents and my payment to this office.
    [​IMG]
    In return, I received a Shipment Way Bill which described how my cargo would be shipped from Buenos Aires to Houston.
    [​IMG]
    On Thursday, I rode my moto to the airport cargo terminal where I encountered this pallet.
    [​IMG]
    I removed my front wheel and my rear case to give my shipment a smaller profile. Some workers then strapped and wrapped my bike like mummy.
    [​IMG]
    They placed a few stickers on the wrapping
    [​IMG]
    This sticker designated that United Airlines was transporting the pallet to IAH (Houston Intercontinental Airport).
    [​IMG]
    This sticker designated that my shipment was fragile.

    Oh... if only they knew where I had ridden my motorcycle... they would have known that my motorcycle was not fragile. Emi might be important... but fragile... NO.
    [​IMG]
    Anyways, they carried my motorcycle away and placed it into some waiting dock.
    [​IMG]
    All that remained for me to carry was my saddle bag, my tank bag and my helmet.
    [​IMG]
    I returned to the city center and checked into a hostel. I would wait at the hostel for two days before I received confirmation that my motorcycle would be flying out on Saturday. I booked a flight for myself to leave on Sunday.
    [​IMG]
    On Sunday, I arrived at the airport and prepared to depart.
    [​IMG]
    I pulled out my valuables from my saddlebag and stuffed them into my backpack. I checked my saddlebag in as luggage at the baggage check area. I carried my backpack and helmet with me.
    [​IMG]
    Then I boarded my flight... leaving Buenos Aires... leaving South America... ending the adventure that had began over a year ago.