My Longest Dance with Salsa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SalsaRider, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — OLD TOWN

    Cartagena, Colombia
    16 November 2018
    MILES: 1,176

    Two days ago 11,000 tourists, from cruise ships, descended upon Cartagena. Yesterday Octavio and I did a walk-about, both inside and outside the old walled city. Although we passed a few, we never encountered the hoards that I had anticipated. Anonymously, they blended into the crowds, absorbed by the sights and sounds of Old Town.

    Octavio led me on a walking tour. In the tree-shaded parks we spotted iguanas hiding amongst the branches, and tiny monkeys jumping from limb to limb. His purpose was both to show me such things, but also to run errands — both for himself and for me. Around every corner, it seemed, we encountered someone he knew, soliciting an embrace or a hand shake, and a few pleasant words.

    Cars, taxis, and pedestrians performed a delicate dance, coming close to but not touching one-another

    The streets in most places were packed with cars, pedestrians, and vendors sprawled out on the sidewalks offering goods: hats, purses, trinkets, fruits, drinks, grilled food, and so on. In the boutique shops more upscale items were on sale, and services: drug stores, beauty parlors, barber shops, Internet cafes, restaurants, jewelry, and so on. Anything you wanted, or didn’t know that you wanted until spotting it, could be found, it seemed.


    In several places bougainvilleas and other flowering plants arched across the road from balconies, perched high above the people below, offering beauty and shade.

    One street that he led me down was different. A “wide” avenue (by comparison) had few walkers or vehicles. It was where the rich, “from Bogota” lived, he explained. There, behind immense doors with decorative door-knockers, and barred windows, were their vacation homes. Inside, he said, were immense yards and old palatial colonial homes, built by the Spanish centuries ago.

    We walked atop the old embattlement walls, thick and imposing, with empty openings for cannons to fend-off invading English pirates. Now those cannon holes are used by picnicking families for shade during the day, and by lovers at night, for privacy.

    ‘We bought cups of coffee, and sat on the sidewalk to enjoy the drinks. We ate from the vendors: cone-shaped yucca delicacies filled with a meat, and “Oro de miel” (golden honey) pineapple slices, which left my mouth watering for more. Both of us drank copious amounts of water, as it was a day that left (at least) me sweating profusely.

    And throughout the day we accomplished our errands, somehow.

    It’s one thing to hire a guide when exploring the Old Town, as many of the tourists did. It’s quite another experience to have someone who lives there, a friend, take the time to do so. I’ve been very lucky to have Octavio, to show me the place from his perspective, as an insider.
    #21
  2. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — OLD TOWN

    Cartagena, Colombia
    16 November 2018
    MILES: 1,176

    Two days ago 11,000 tourists, from cruise ships, descended upon Cartagena. Yesterday Octavio and I did a walk-about, both inside and outside the old walled city. Although we passed a few, we never encountered the hoards that I had anticipated. Anonymously, they blended into the crowds, absorbed by the sights and sounds of Old Town.

    Octavio led me on a walking tour. In the tree-shaded parks we spotted iguanas hiding amongst the branches, and tiny monkeys jumping from limb to limb. His purpose was both to show me such things, but also to run errands — both for himself and for me. Around every corner, it seemed, we encountered someone he knew, soliciting an embrace or a hand shake, and a few pleasant words.

    Cars, taxis, and pedestrians performed a delicate dance, coming close to but not touching one-another.

    The streets in most places were packed with cars, pedestrians, and vendors sprawled out on the sidewalks offering goods: hats, purses, trinkets, fruits, drinks, grilled food, and so on. In the boutique shops more upscale items were on sale, and services: drug stores, beauty parlors, barber shops, Internet cafes, restaurants, jewelry, and so on. Anything you wanted, or didn’t know that you wanted until spotting it, could be found, it seemed.

    In several places bougainvilleas and other flowering plants arched across the road from balconies, perched high above the people below, offering beauty and shade.

    One street that he led me down was different. A “wide” avenue (by comparison) had few walkers or vehicles. It was where the rich, “from Bogota” lived, he explained. There, behind immense doors with decorative door-knockers, and barred windows, were their vacation homes. Inside, he said, were immense yards and old palatial colonial homes, built by the Spanish centuries ago.

    We walked atop the old embattlement walls, thick and imposing, with empty openings for cannons to fend-off invading English pirates. Now those cannon holes are used by picnicking families for shade during the day, and by lovers at night, for privacy.

    ‘We bought cups of coffee, and sat on the sidewalk to enjoy the drinks. We ate from the vendors: cone-shaped yucca delicacies filled with a meat, and “Oro de miel” (golden honey) pineapple slices, which left my mouth watering for more. Both of us drank copious amounts of water, as it was a day that left (at least) me sweating profusely.

    And throughout the day we accomplished our errands, somehow.

    It’s one thing to hire a guide when exploring the Old Town, as many of the tourists did. It’s quite another experience to have someone who lives there, a friend, take the time to do so. I’ve been very lucky to have Octavio, to show me the place from his perspective, as an insider.
    #22
    joenuclear likes this.
  3. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — LA COMIDA (the Food)

    Cartagena, Colombia
    18 November 2018
    Miles: 1,176

    Colombians like their fruits, and like to eat healthy foods; at least the ones I’ve met so far.

    Walk through Coni’s home, and you will find bowl-after-bowl of ripening tropical delights: passion fruits, “tomate de arbor”, pears, pineapples, papayas, bananas, “grandillas”, apples, avocados, mangoes, plantains, and limes.

    In the streets, brightly clad Palenqueras offer sliced watermelons, pineapples, and papayas. And everywhere are outside grills offering kabobs and other delights.

    Octavio and I ate seafood from a market restaurant: shrimp, ceviche, and snails, served with avocado slices, lime, and fried bananas that stood tall as sails over the dishes.

    Coni, an excellent chef, sent her maid — unannounced — to serve us a delicious lunch of savory cheese soup, fried bananas, salad, and rice. And Octavio, my host, is no stranger to the kitchen. Always surprising me with a variety of well-prepared dishes: eggs over easy, fried plantains, broccoli with balsamic vinegar, rice, beans, grilled cheese sandwiches, and salads.

    Carmen, his sister, prepared a tasty dinner of fried pork, rice, beans, a fresh salad, and “aqua de panella” juice”. Most tasty!

    Usually, on my long motorcycle rides, I’ll return home 10-15 pounds lighter. If this continues, it might put an end to that trend.

    Attached Files:

    #23
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  4. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    More photos of the tropical delights in Cartagena, Colombia.

    Attached Files:

    #24
    joenuclear likes this.
  5. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Hope you enjoy my posts, and learn from my experiences.
    #25
    Westbay likes this.
  6. agplant

    agplant Ride Fast Travel Slo

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    352
    Location:
    High Level, Alberta
    Enjoying so far. :lurk
    #26
    SalsaRider likes this.
  7. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — PIECES OF ART

    Cartagena, Colombia
    20 November 2018
    Miles: 1,176

    Throughout Old Town Cartagena you will find pieces of art, strategically placed near public gathering sites, on doors, or in the tiny market art galleries. To share a few that caught my eye:

    Attached Files:

    #27
    joenuclear likes this.
  8. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    More than likely, at least once during the ride.
    #28
  9. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — “HOW TO SHIP” a Motorcycle from the USA to South America:
    a partial guide.

    A fellow inmate asked if I could share how I shipped my motorcycle from the USA to Colombia. Below is a partial “How To” guide for doing so, as provided to me by my shipper: Veritas Global Transportation, Inc.

    After you have read that, I will try to discuss it on a personal basis, and invite you to join in the conversation.

    “HOW TO SHIP “GUIDE

    1) Original Clean Title is Required for Export.
    2) Motorcycle must be fully operational for Export.
    3) Export POA signed by the exporter must be received.
    4) EIN# must be obtained by the exporter for Export Customs Clearance (unless the individual is foreign in which a foreign passport number can be used).
    5) Exporter must check with destination country customs to confirm motorcycle is legal to import. Consulate is a good place to start.
    6) Destination charges can vary from country to country. These fees are not limited to and can include: port fees, customs clearance, documentation, legalization, duty, taxes, etc… Be prepared upfront to pay these fees and we can assist you in obtaining these charges prior to shipping.
    7) Motorcycle must be delivered to or driven to the port of loading in the USA for export. We will provide the necessary documentation (i.e. Dock Receipt) for the motorcycle to be accepted at the port. All US Ports require the delivery party/individual to have a TWIC card, if the delivery party/individual does not have a TWIC card an escort can be provided at an additional cost.
    8) Once the motorcycle has been loaded on the vessel a bill of lading will be provided. This document is required to clear and pick up the motorcycle at the port of discharge.

    If you have any questions please let me know. Thanks Monte, hope this proves helpful to your fellow bikersJ

    Kind Regards,
    Sean Betts | President

    Veritas Global Transportation Inc.
    500 E Shore Dr., Ste 130
    Eagle, ID 83616

    T: 208-473-2364 | F: 208-473-2394
    E: sean.betts@veritasglobaltrans.com
    W: www.veritasglobaltrans.com

    Matthew 11:28


    DISCUSSION:

    There are many ways to ship a bike from the USA to South America. It can be done by RORO, as I did, as a single piece of cargo; or inside a cargo container, with others sharing the costs. It can be flown, either crated or strapped to a pallet; or shipped on a private vessel (i.e., the Stalhratte sailing vessel). Perhaps other ways, as well?

    As I begin this dialogue with other inmates, know that I’m still in Cartagena, waiting for Salsa, my motorcycle, to arrive; so no doubt there will be more to share down the road.

    HOW I DID IT:

    Being from Colorado Springs, my first contact was with Lori, of Navis Pack and Ship: co1013@goNavis.com, ph: (719) 633-2988. She filled out the initial paperwork, made contact with Sean of Veritas Global Transportation, Inc. (see above), and got the ball rolling.

    Sean connected me with a TWIC agent from Houston — Alton, LC Express, PH: (281)449-7171 — who provided both yard access (TWIC) and US Customs clearance services. A double-hatted expert.

    Sean also put me in contact with a shipping company here in Cartagena, Colombia, to assist me at this end: Inter Freight Group, PH: +57 (304) 676-3238.

    The Plan:

    Ship the motorcycle from Galveston, Texas to Cartagena, Colombia.

    Documents:

    This is a long list, and I’m not going to list them now, except for two: A current PASSPORT, and the original TITLE for the motorcycle. Everything else seemed to require those two original documents.

    In my case I left Colorado Springs with a handful of documents. In Galveston I had to get more. And here in Colombia even more. Some required trips to a Notary, for validation, especially here in Colombia.

    Costs:

    I paid for the paperwork and shipment costs in Colorado Springs, about $2,600. I knew I had to also pay a fee for the TWIC and Customs services in Galveston, and came prepared (about $70).

    Just before delivering my motorcycle to the port, I learned of another unanticipated fee: the price of importing the motorcycle into Colombia. That cost an additional $830, which was unexpected.

    Since arriving in Cartagena I’ve faced additional fees for more documents, notarizations, and more service costs. And once my motorcycle arrives I’ll have to pay another handling fee, no doubt, for the TWIC agent who will deliver the motorcycle to me.

    Conclusion:

    It cost me a bundle to ship the motorcycle from Galveston, Texas to Cartagena, Colombia. The duration of the transportation was about 11 days, from the time the ship sailed until it should be delivered, on the 21st; but I had to deliver it to the port on the 5th of November, for staging. In all it required 2+ weeks for this process.

    Would I recommend this for other riders? Only if there weren’t other, less costly and more timely ways to get a motorcycle from A to B. Were it not for my concerns about riding in Central America, I would have preferred to ship it on the Stalhratte, my first choice; but such is life.

    Your thoughts:

    Please share, if you have had other, better (or worse?) experiences. I suspect there are many interested in “How To Ship” matters, and I certainly don’t have all the answers.

    Monte / SalsaRider
    #29
    joenuclear likes this.
  10. battdoc

    battdoc Old Enough

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    548
    Location:
    Stockton CA
    Hey Monte - I'm glad you are living your dream. My bike is floating in a container to Cartagena, hopefully I'll get it back from customs on next Monday or Tuesday. Hope to see you on the trail somewhere.
    Cheers!
    #30
    SalsaRider likes this.
  11. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Hi Battdoc,

    Were it not for a mix-up re paying an import fee, I would have Salsa with me now. Hope to get this settled tomorrow, somehow.

    Indeed, our paths are very close to crossing!

    At this juncture I really don’t know when I can leave Cartagena; but hope to do so soon.

    Are you in the city now?

    My cell: 1 (719) 352-7031
    Email: hartx2@aol.com

    Hope to see you here, or on the road in the near future.

    Best,
    Monte / SalsaRider
    #31
    95Monster and renegado like this.
  12. mjs3800

    mjs3800 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    CA
    I am a sucker for old bikes touring. In !
    #32
    SalsaRider likes this.
  13. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — CASTILLO DE SAN FELIPE DE BARAJAS

    Cartagena, Colombia
    21 November 2018
    Miles: 1,176

    Yesterday we visited the Castle of San Felipe de Barajas, perched high atop a hill near the entrance to the port. Building the castle started in 1597, using “wood, kindling sticks, and compacted earth.” In 1656 stones were used to reinforce and expand the fortress.

    It suffered defeat at the hands of the French in 1697; but in 1741 the Spaniards soundly defeated a British Invasion.

    Getting there meant a steep walk up a hill, but once there, it offered a commanding view of the bay and the city of Cartagena. Deep in the recesses we crept down a darkened storage area, that led deep underground on steep walkways. We finally stoped when the stones became slippery with moisture, and beat a retreat back up the open air.

    Some photos:
    #33
  14. battdoc

    battdoc Old Enough

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    548
    Location:
    Stockton CA
    My bike was packed on Tuesday and I'm flying to Cartagena on Sunday. If all goes well, I hope to re-unite with my ride on Tuesday. I'll message you once I get going again. BTW love your writing style.

    Regards,
    Nirbhai
    #34
    SalsaRider and joenuclear like this.
  15. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Nirbhai,


    We’re just days apart! Our paths are bound to cross sooner or later. Stay in touch!

    Monte
    #35
  16. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — FENCES AND STREET ART

    Cartagena, Colombia
    22 November 2018
    Miles: 1,176

    As it is world-wide, it’s prudent to deter those up to no good. Here in Colombia, doing so is a form of art. Some photos follow.

    On many streets you’ll find the walls painted, sometimes with political messages, but most often with playful themes. Here are a few nautical ones that caught my attention:
    #36
  17. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Nirbhai / Battdoc

    I was unable to buy a SOAT yesterday, so am still here in Cartagena. Hope to get it Monday, and hit the road on Tuesday.

    Hope you have better luck; but seems it’s a problem everywhere. It’s mandatory, but some insurance companies won’t sell to foreigners, or to motorcyclists.

    Might need to pay a visit to the Minister of Transportation, and see if someone there can help? A brash idea, but what the heck?

    Contact me when you can.

    Monte / SalsaRider
    #37
  18. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — A PREMATURE DESPEDIDA (FAREWELL)

    Cartagena, Colombia
    24 November 2018
    Miles: 1,176

    On a balcony overlooking the Old Town of Cartagena, atop a 300+ year-old house, my Colombian friends gathered to wish me farewell.

    We ate snacks, drank wine, listened to some good music, and took some fun photos.

    The moon was full, as was the Old Town — with late night revellers — like us. Across the way La Catedral De Santa Catalina De Alejandría, an old historical church, was emblazoned with bright lights, as if putting an exclamation point on my stay!

    I left “early” at 11:00 p.m., in anticipation of receiving Salsa (my motorcycle) this morning. The others partied on, until the sun started rising in the east.

    It was not to be!

    I needed insurance, or a SOAT, before the authorities would release Salsa into my care. For four hours I went from insurance agency to agency. Two were closed until Monday; two didn’t sell to foreigners; and two didn’t sell to motorcyclists.

    The impact? I will have to try again on Monday, with the two agencies that were closed today, and hope for the best. So instead of heading south on Sunday, as planned, I now must wait a few more days here in Cartagena.

    Ah well! As a Spanish expression goes: “The success/strength of a man is his ability to find solutions to problems.” So far, this trip has generously offered many opportunities to do just that!

    It was a helluva fun party. The next one might even be better!
    #38
    joenuclear likes this.
  19. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego —SALSA IS FREE TO DANCE!!!

    Cartagena, Colombia
    27 November 2018
    Miles: 1,373
    (Note: this is the correct mileage)

    At long last, after 5 long and frustrating days, Salsa has been released from the Port into my hands. But believe me, it wasn’t an easy task, and it couldn’t have been done without the aide of friends.

    Octavio, my host, gave up his days to escort me all over Pueblo Viejo and its environs, searching for some company to sell me the required insurance: SOAT. Socrates and Jasmine, from the Customs office, did their utmost to help me, too!

    [The details may follow in a separate post for other riders, who may face the same predicament in the future.]

    Tomorrow, for the first time in nearly two weeks, the long dance from the top of South America to Tierra del Fuego will begin.

    So put on the salsa music and jack-up the volume.

    WE’RE READY TO DANCE!!!

    Attached Files:

    #39
  20. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — “I AM THE WIND!’

    Cartagena, Colombia
    27 November 2018
    Miles: 1,373

    That’s how Octavio, my host since 10 November 2018, describes himself; and it’s true!!! One moment he’ll be as gentle as a summer breeze; but the next might turn into a raging hurricane! A “mercurial personality” might also describe him; but I like his self-description the best.

    “I am the wind!”

    For the past 2+ weeks he has opened his big heart and home to me. He has introduced me to his friends — Coni, Elba, Arnaldo, and of course, Tia. We have danced late into the night together. He has walked with me all over Pueblo Viejo, showing me the ancient town up close. We have dined in local restaurants and from street vendors, walked on La Boquillo Playa (Boquillo beach), and explored El Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas.

    We have ridden in busses, in “collectivo” (group) taxis, in Bici-taxis, and in regular taxis.

    He took me to his hospital — just out of town — to show me the confusion there. We have discussed politics, both here and in the USA.

    In short, we have become compadres. And when he suddenly turns into a tornado, I’ll just smile at him. Soon enough, I know, he’ll be as refreshing as a soothing breeze.

    It has been my good fortune to begin this experience in South America under the tutelage and generosity of such a man. A man of all seasons!

    Thank you, Señor Octavio!

    You’re right: You are the wind!

    Attached Files:

    #40
    joenuclear likes this.