Touring Ted

2 wheels & no sense. My Motorcycle travel blog.

Archive for May, 2008

Its been over 2 weeks my last post but I have been rather busy and theres not really internet going around in the Amazon :)

Since my last post I have continued up the coast of Brazil with the Americans and Canadians enjoying the beach towns, white sands and warm waters. Eventually we headed in land for the city of Belem where we had planned to take a 5 day cruise up the River Amazon to the Amazonian city of Manaus and the gateway into Venezuela.  As usual the ride was beautiful with lots of Jungle, sweeping roads and complimented as usual with huge pot holes that could swallow a man and crazy trucks trying to kill you,  but were all more than used to that by now.

We pulled into Belem and found the Hotel that was recommended to us by local biker, Alex, who we were recommended to contact by other travellers. Alex was pretty busy while we were there so he had us adopted by a local motorcycle club who were more than hospitable. One guy in-particular called Alfredo took us to meet his club, out to dinner, the beach and made sure we had everything we needed while we were there… A great experience of friendly Brazilians once again.

After 4 days we managed to buy passage onto a ferry boat to Manaus, pick up our Visa for Venezuela and have our Brazilian visas extended. For the boat we paid a shifty looking broker our cash and waited all day at the quayside for the chance to load our bikes onto the boat. Now THAT was an experience. We were ushered to the side of the ferry as two guys pull out a plank of wood about 1 foot long and soaking wet from the rain (it rained all day – typical ). We took turns to wobble our bikes over this thin plank to the deck, trying to ignore the water 10 feet below us and hoping the wheels wouldn’t slip or the plank break.. Alas, we survived !!!

Not much to say about the voyage really apart from that it was a cramped ferry with most people sleeping in hammocks. Meals three times a day of rice, beans and chewy beef… Blllllleeerch !!! We passed the time playing cards, drinking too much and looking out the banks of the river and at the river people who paddle their way up and down the water to their little shacks, selling things to the boats and catching donations of food and clothes.

It was in Manaus that we split from Peter and Carol as they were heading to the North coast !

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The trip from Manaus took us north and to the Venezuelan border. This 2 day ride took us ove the equator and also through an Indigenous Indian reserve. We were warned not to stop in the Indian reserve as the locals think it funny to shoot people who pass through. While we were riding, we came passed a wierd Colombian guy who was riding to Brazil on a bright yellow scooter. The poor guy had stopped and broken the key off in his ignition and was stranded on the road in the reserve. I stopped when he waved to me and he was pretty nervous. All attempts to free the broken part of the key failed so we hailed a passing truck and loaded him into it with his scooter and onto the next town… My good dead for the day :)

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Venezuela

We arrived at the border of Venezuela at about 3pm. We were pretty nervous about leaving Brasil as we accidentally illegally imported our bikes into Brasil at Iguzu. If the brazilians checked our paperwork, we were liable for big fines and all other kinds of trouble. Possibly even a free meal at the jail !! Luckily, the just stamped our passports and waved us goodbye so all good there. The Venezuelan border was pretty straight forward but by far the most organised and official I have seen yet. There’s no chance of getting in and out of Venezuela without them knowing about it.

Our first stop was the border town of Santa Elena where the lonely planet told us we would find “A funky, friendly hippy town”, as usual it was complete bull and the place was a mining town with expensive hotels, dirty traffic laden streets and nowhere decent to stay. We ended up in a five star hotel paying 100 pounds a night and waited to get of there.

Another stress was that our cash cards wont work in ANY cash machines here and we are dam lucky to have Brazilian money left over to change with the street hawkers. Thank god that fuel is only 3p a litre. YES, THREE PENCE A LITRE for good fuel… :)

We left Santa Elena the next day and met up a fantastic couple on the road. Orlando and his girlfriend/wife instantly adopted us, took us to a hotel, paid for our fuel and insisted we come with them to their house in the north to stay. Our second day here and already we have friends.

They took us to big biker rally in their city where we were instant celebrity’s, introduced us to all their club and even put us up on there family farm in the country as all the hotels were booked out for the rally. What brilliant people. They wouldn’t let us pay for anything and treated us like old friends..

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We are now in a city called Bolivar and today we are searching for a plane to fly us to Angel falls in the rain forrest and then high tailing it to Colombia as I have to back home in 3 weeks.. AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH !! Hopefully ill post again before then…

 Hold onto your hats !!