Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fast Forward in Montevideo

first i would like to thank my cousin Itai, who brought me this Little snapshot camera.
thanks man!!

the camera is a canon SD1000 pocket digital camera 7.1 mega pixel. it has a video feature of time lapse recording. it means, it takes one frame every 1 or 2 seconds. in a normal video there 25 frames per second, so eventually every second in the film is 25 or 50 seconds in reality.
i mounted the camera and made a first test drive on the streets of Montevideo at night.
here it is. more will come in the future. hopefully i will film the whole ride and have a short film of my entire South American trip.

ciao Muchachos / Muchachas

Friday, June 22, 2007

Riding Again. Nueva Helvecia - Uruguay

after 4 days in Colonia de Sacramento, i started riding again.
i have reached this little town called Nueva Hevlecia. a town of Swiss descendants. again, all is very old and rustic.

nothing much to tell so i leave it for the pictures

Elasio + Chicho

Thursday, June 21, 2007

International man of mystery

Meet Ludevig, a 36 years old guy from South Africa.
i met him on the hostel in Colonia, Uruguay.
at first, everything looked normal. we connected for our same interest in motorcycles and our advanced age in backpackers terms. he helped me with my photos of old cars around the city.
we had good conversations and he told me interesting stuff about his life in south Africa and the situation over there.
one day we made a big barbecue and invited some other people from the hostel. Ludevig bought some beers and we had a good night full of food and alcohol. but he didn't stop drinking since then. right this moment, 4 days later he is still under the influence and keeps drinking. since that day, his stories got more and more rare and unbelievable. so here are the top ten stories. believe it or not:
  1. He used to be a very wealthy man in South Africa. He has 17 million US dollars in his home account.
  2. He divorced from his wife after catching her in bed with his best friend.
  3. His mom passed away a week ago after having the Parkinson disease for years. she was buried a week later. yesterday, another traveler from the hostel told me Ludevig's mom passed away just yesterday.
  4. He his an officer in the South African special forces. all of his friends from the unit were killed, but he survived because he believes in god.
  5. He once visited in Israel. illegally. He was flying a jet plane of the army and had to stop in a secret army base in the north of the country. he does not remember the name of it.
  6. While living in the Kalahari desert in Africa, he killed numerous black people who invaded his house. this is one of the reasons for his divorce.
  7. One of his missions for the South African Army was to shoot Nelson Mandela. He refused the order and i quote now: "...i looked in the Telescope of my sniper rifle and identified Nelson Mandela. i took my eye out of my telescope and looked at my Sergeant. i told him, if i shoot this man, a lot of people will get killed. and i don't want to be responsible for any more deaths." after this incident he was discharged from the army and exiled from South Africa. that is the reason he can not return to his land.
  8. 2 weeks ago he met a British girl in the hostel. she was working for the British intelligence, MI5. they spent a romantic weekend in the lovely streets of one point she went and checked his background in the MI5 main computer. when she came back she looked at him and said: " I must have sex with you right this moment". they did it. then he asked her about this and she told him she discovered he is ranked 15 in the wold's most dangerous person list.
  9. He owns a farm and a house in New Zealand.
  10. He think he should leave the hostel and go to Colombia and start trafficking drugs for a living.

At the moment, he lives in the hostel and pays his living as a handyman. the hostel pays him 5 dollars a day. his stories are getting more and more obscure and detached from reality.

i go out of here tomorrow and i really don't know what will happen with him. the people from the hostel try to talk him to go back home to South Africa, but he keeps changing his plan every second.

now he told me he is going to buy a bike and join me !!!!!!!

ciao amigos, got to run.............

i wish him well and great health.

Colonia Del Sacramento - Uruguay. The capital of Antique cars


i have arrived to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. stayed at a hostel and met a few nice people there.
but the biggest thing about this town and this county of Uruguay is the amount of antique cars which run the streets as ordinary cars, not in a museum.

it appears that Uruguay had the biggest amount and variety of classic cars in the world, even more than Cuba.

During the 30's until the 60's Uruguay's economy was one of the strongest in south America thanks to the war that was going on in Europe. They were big suppliers of meat and coton to the fighting European nations. it led to an extensive import of foreign cars, some exclusive and luxurious and some strong and basic for day to day work. somewhere in the 60's, Uruguay's economy deteriorated due to a corrupted government and the recuperation of Europe. When dictatorship had rise, a lot of the country's population had left to neighbouring Argentina and Europe in seek for a better future, leaving the country week and lacking of working hands.

the import of cars had stopped and the Uruguayans were left with what they have. excellent cars from all over the world, but no money to buy new cars. this fact and the natural tendency of the people to the classic and old fashioned, had made Uruguay a heaven to the car collector.

now, most of the rare and valuable cars had been exported to Europe and The U.S., but you can still see plenty of cars, in different condition, running the streets, doing day to day work.

One more interesting fact i discovered by chance is that Dodge company had used the Star of David as their logo from 1914 till 1927.

i started to collect pictures of cars and their owners for an upcoming article i plan to make.
here is the begining,

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rural Argentina and passing on to Uruguay


it's been a week of riding now, and what a ride it was, and what a ride it will be !!!

i am having my dream come true. i meet excellent local people who greet me to their houses, give me place to stay and share their food with me. all i wish now is to meet another crazy chica with a bike like mine to share this excellent and unique road.
i will not go into tiring details, just see the pictures.

after Gualeguaychu i moved on to a Jewish rural village and i have met the local undertaker.

he welcomed me to stay in his backyard, and so i did. i spent 3 days in his little community.
then we met his neighbour, a 79 years old farmer,a Gaucho in Spanish. he rides everyday on his motorbike to his farm.

i took a picture of him and printed it for him. it is amazing how excited they all get when they receive their pictures.

then i moved on and passed to Uruguay.

no border problems. just like that. it made me so happy to know that i could get out of Argentina. now I'm free to go wherever i want.

Uruguay is an amazing little country, undiscovered by tourism, which makes it a little piece of heaven. full of old villages, old cars in excellent condition (this fully working 1937 Chevrolet is for sale for 1200 US$).

excellent people, welcoming and untouched. helpful and honest. what can i say, i wish it will keep looking like that.

Chicho is doing fine, although the headlamp was broken by the shakes of the dirt roads. we were lucky enough to have Tomasito, this friendly Uruguayan farmer, who helped me fix it in his workshop.

we went through our first dirt road today, and it went just fine. had to around 60 km"h, but now i am more optimistic about the rest of the trip. i think chicho will make it. like Tomasito says: everything is fixable.

bye now

take care


Unfortunate mishape

I first saw a Bide in our first family overseas vacation in Greece, somewhere in the 80's. i was 5 years old. me and my brothers were so excited to have a double toilet in our room. we thought we were special.
then we grew up.

i kept seeing this little deformed toilet seat in many occasions. never in Israel.
i also heard a few jokes of some hill Billie, country folks who thought that the toilet seat is broken.
but all this famous international experience did prevent me from pissing in the bide, a few days ago when i had just a little bit too much of red wine. i was so surprised by my act that i started laughing. i watched that nobody sees me and tried to correct my act by flushing the water. then it hit me the second time by a rapid flow coming from the bottom of the "broken toilet".
Don't drink and piss anywhere were it's not your home ground.
and many more conclusions.

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Friday, June 8, 2007

First riding day. Arriving to Gualeguaychú.

that's it. now we are rolling, me and my unnamed Chinese friend. we are both O.K.
i said goodbye to my uncles, Margarita managed not to cry this time. i will miss them for sure.

getting out from Buenos Aires was really easy, the bike went nice and smooth with the usual Chinese noise of a jigsaw. some thing interesting happened. now, when i drive fully loaded, the bike has less vibrations and it goes much smoother. that was a nice surprise.
i go 80 km/h and we are both happy.

after 70 k"m i suddenly noticed a different, more subdued sound from the motor. i checked the bike and noticed that 2 bolts which holds the left exhaust pipe got loose and fell off. the exhaust pipe was loosened a bit applying a great "Harley Davidson" sound. i found similar bolts on the mud stopper and replaced them on the exhaust pipe. all is fine now, though i discovered a small hole in the pipe. nothing dramatic.
the day was perfect for riding and i kept going for another 90 k"m passing 2 bridges across river Parana till it got late and dark.
i looked for a place to camp and entered a farm on the side of the road. i looked for farm owner while still driving, and when i found him i saw he was a little tense. he asked me who i am and what i want. i told him him i am a tourist from Israel and he was relieved, he explained me that the security in Argentina is on the down-side and i shouldn't enter any place without noticing. he also mentioned two men who got shot two weeks before when entering a farm. i thanked him for his vital information and kept looking for a place.
i found a small farm, this time approaching them by foot, saluting from far and smiling like a stupid Gringo. they were nice and let me camp on their ground. i pitched my new tent, took a night shot and went to sleep. had no fire so i couldn't even make a coffee or maté.
The region where I'm at now is called "La Pampas", a swampy and flat plateau. very humid.
i woke up in the morning in a white and wet atmosphere.

in the morning i headed to a town Called Gualeguaychú. i went to visit a group of environmental protesters from this city who block the international border bridge for over 7 months now, trying to prevent the building of a paper factory in neighbouring Uruguay. they claim that factory will pollute the air and the river

and destroy their quiet touristy town. the Argentinian government support the people and therefore does not kick them away.

i had a look around town and saw a lot of houses and businesses for sell. what a shame.

i told them I'm a photographer from Israel and they greeted me with a warm lunch and we had good laughs. then they allowed me to visit the bridge and see the plant. i rode 10 k"m on the empty road and arrived to the abandoned border crossing. it was very strange as i could pass the sleepy guards with no problem. i promised the lady i will come back, and so i did.

i wish them good luck, but as things look now (the plant is already running), they don't stand a chance.

tomorrow i will visit them again and will head to a small town which was supposed to be the land of Israel, just before the declaration of our Independence. the town used to be 80% Jewish and was sponsored by the baron Hirsh.

some more info will come later( as i have more..)

bye now


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Just before i leave Buenos Aires. Part II

Hey, it sounds like a Deja Vu for me, but here i am again, leaving Buenos Aires for the second time in 3 days. now it's for real. i am heading north along the border with Uruguay, and luckily i will pass the border by land.

so, before i leave i just wanted to show you some great musicians who work on the subway of Buenos.

Ariel Murolo, a Bandeoneon player. The Bandeoneon is a very close relative to the Accordion we all know from Ritmika lessons in Kindergarden. It is the typical instrument for Tango Music .
The second guy i met a day after the bad news from the border checking. i had such a bad mood , i thought nothing would make me smile for the next week. i sat on the train, face down trying to pass time. the train stopped at one of the station and some sweet funky reagge sounds came from the distance. i started smiling and tapping with my feet on the floor. the train started to move again, but the music didn't stop, on the opposite, now there was some wild singing too.
and there he was, the great crowd pleaser, Mr. goodvibes.... Sr. Anibal "Familia" Ochoa. he's 24 years old, living on a suburb south of Buenos Aires. he works in the subway only for 5 months now and what a succes. i guess that working for years on the buses makes you a real professional. he walks around with a guitar amplifier connected to a cd player and a mike. A genuine soundsystem from Jamaica.
he sings covers and original words on famous reagge instrumentals, and what a success he's got. every time he finished a song, the usually fed up and bored subway passengers just couldn't hold themselves from cheering and of course opening their wallets. he sure deserves it !!
i took some more pictures of him and offered him a spontaneous photo shoot for his future album, that will come one day. the man was speechless. we did the shoot and then we walked to my home, something like 20 blocks from the train station, at midnight, with a happy reagge soundtrack. another surreal adventure.

so, it's time to leave the city and get back to some nature,tent (i have got a new one, perfectly sealed from rain!!), cooking on a field stove, and most important...... riding my bike

thanks for all the comments you placed, some personally and some on the blog.
it gives me great energy to keep writing.

just press the orange icon on the top right corner of the blog, and you will receive it straight to your RSS viewer (just in case you know what it is).

Amor y Paz


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Houston, now we really have a problem :(

I have managed to prepare everything i needed for the ride. i bought a ticket to Uruguay to meet my cousin. i woke up early that Saturday with great anticipation and excitment. Just to make things even more perfect, i even met an Argentinian girl who made me happy for the last 2 days.

But the Argentinian customs have different plans for me on their agenda. just as i was starting my bike to get on the boat, the customs officer stopped me and asked for an Argentinian ID. i told him that io'm a tourist and i don't have any local I.D. , but here, i have a passport and international insurance and the bike is registered on my name. just like i was told. oooohhh noooo. NO SENIOR!! if you want to leave the country with the bike you got to have an Argentinian ID.

for the next 2 minutes i was speechless. the whole last month has rewinded in my head terminating in a big black nothing. i knew i couldn't speak to them or do anything. i was shocked by this discovery and i went back home with a great feeling of despair. i was also angry of myself for not checking thoroughly the customs laws and regulations. i did check at the border of Argentina and Chile, but they didn't say anything about it. welcome to South America Hombre!!

now it is 2 days after. i am leaving Buenos the day after tomorrow heading north. i still haven't given up yet. i will go through each border on the way and luckily i will find one that will let me out of this country. in the meanwhile I'll enjoy what Argentina has to offer.

that was a big lesson for me, but also a big recovery.
i feel good and full of energy. she has a big part of it .

talk soon

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Houston - The bike is rolling

Today i made some last arrangement and modifications to the bike.
After endless searches in the city, i finally found this really nice workshop called "Canos de escapes Esteban" run by Patricio, the son of esteban. they usually repair exhausts for cars, but their big hobby and great passion is customizing motorbikes and building custom racing cars.
Patricio was very kind and finished the job just like he said, no problems.
we enforced the back grill, where the bags and the tent will be placed and we also made a special camera holder on the handlebar so i could shoot video while driving. looking forward for that.

Tomorrow, at 9:00 I'll start my motorcycle trip through South America.
first stop will be Colonia in Uruguay. i am taking a 3 hour boat from Buenos Aires and i will meet my cousin Itai in Montevideo after a few hours.
that's of course if everything passes well.

Ahhh, so excited.

talk soon