Hi (big smile), I'm Chris (another smile), Chrissssssss
Brrrrrright, Special Corrrrrrrrrrespondent for motorcycle journal
punto net (all said with a slightly effeminate fake Sean Connery
accent). Errr sorry....
....More gibberish from the Bright One. Don't recall
precisely -disculpe, mucho vino tinto, mi hermanas y hermanos- but
I believe the last time I insulted your Inbox was from Cusco, Peru.
Since then the Bright-Bandwagon has travelled far and wide, spreading
the gospel of Saint Chrissie. His trusty steed, the 'ex' has a new
diode board and amortigador.
Not just any amortigador, but a 'Gabriel Super Ryder,
Made in USA'. The old shock (Amortigador is the Espagnol for shock
absorber), made it -not very far- from Guatemala to somewhere in
Bolivia, but was finally redone at Freddy Vallderamma's in Santiago
de Chile (with modifications at Edgardo's in Temuco). It is for
a CAR, because as per usual, even in Chile, you can't get any spares
for a BMW bike and especially not my model. After this little cunning
stunt, I have finally graduated with a PhD in 'Bush-Mechanics, Specialism
1988-94 BMW r100gs Paralever'. Professor AJP Lickorish, the examining
moderator was exultant with his praise: 'Oh goodie, mine's a Pims,
me old mucker!' I hope it holds!
Here is a pic of 2 of my Disciples (Moonies?), Messrs
Chris -Claudia Schiffer- Ratay
of USA and Liam -Elle, the Body, McPherson- McCabe of Ireland at
the 'Alter of the Sun' in Brightville, Australia. As far as Copyright
is concerned, their butts have supplied 'model-release imprints',
but still, to avoid any undue, unforeseen lawsuits, these images
may NOT be viewed on the Emerald Isle or in the Land of the Whopper.
PLEASE NOTE: I must stress that I am thoroughly
disgusted as to this open arse-display in the public domain, for
I am the voice of justice and righteousness in this completely cruel
world, but anything for a laugh, or even a disgusted scowl....
Anyway -get a map out if you like- the route went
from Cusco to Lago Titcaca to La Paz, Bolivia to Arica, Chile to
Iquique to San Pedro de Atacama (with a quick side trip to Laguna
Verde in Bolivia) to Santiago and then 10 days in the Chilean and
Argentinian Lake District to my present location, Puerto Varas,
near the start of the Careterra Austral for the final push (or hopefully
'drive') to Tierra del Fuego, where I hope to find myself by the
end of March.
Cusco was naff. So incredibly touristy, with all
the hangers-on and pain-in-the-bum beggars and RAIN and of course
I was shackled there because of the thoroughly efficient and helpful
experts of Dingleweed Had Lice.
After stringing together a shocking line of abuse (even for my tender
ears!) and threatening them with the police for harassment, I finally
received my little box after it had already been in Peru for 8 days.
Before leaving the capital of Incaland, I got hold
of a secondhand pair of motocross boots. Don't tell anyone, but
they are pink and white with luminous green buckles! My new shiny
(and warm!) M/C pants (thanks again Neale!!!!) go over the top of
Where do you find a (real) beggar when you want
one? Seriously, I had a humbling experience. While trying to find
somebody to give my old paratrooper boots to, I spot my prey: A
beggar with no shoes on.... .....He was also blind and deaf/mute.
How do you explain that not only do you want to give him a stale
tasting Nutri-grain-type bar, but also these boots. He understood.
I had for the first time in my life given something to a beggar.
That day I felt really fortunate.
The ride to Copacabana and the Bolivian border on
the southern tip of Lake Titicaca was wet and cold and passed through
flooded Julianca and Puno, where I had to instil a little 'master-servant-doctrine'
with another motorist who insisted on pressing his horn constantly
while I tried to do a U-turn in front of him with my overloaded
bike on a wet cobblestone road going up a hill. I am sure he understood
the gist of what I was saying. Waving my fist within an inch of
his nose may not have confused him. The amusing thing was, a Peruvian
policeman who watched the whole incident then proceeded to give
him a b*llocking also! I did like Peru. On the whole gracious and
friendly people, great mountains and funny coppers.
After an easy as you like border crossing and a
half hearted attempt at a bribe by the Bolivian border morons, err
I mean police -'Yo no speaka spangliesh senor!'- the sun shone for
the first time in days. Just as well as the bike was blessed by
the local Catholic priest. (A day or so ago I was thinking that
I hadn't dropped the bike since then and guess what? While trying
to park it at a campsite in Argentina, it fell over!!) I also got
a shower. He chucked a little too much holy water on my head.
The ride to La Paz, a city at about 4000m above
sea level was great. Sun, views, mountains, breathless Altiplano.
Bolivian drivers are totally insane: traffic lights, stop signs
and suchlike are purely decorations on the roadside, but there seemed
to be a method to the madness. I will definitely return to Bolivia.
Due to the weather and 95% dirt roads, the weight of the ex and
the lack of time to get to Tierra del Fuego before the snows start,
I only spent a total of 5 days in this beautiful, hospitable country.
Another time and on a luggageless Honda XR or similar.
I ran a few errands, bought some souvenirs , sending
them straight home, as well as doing a full service at Walter -Chuck
Norris- Nosiglia's, the local Honda dealer. What friendly people
they are. The road led and west through rain from La Paz to the
border at 4600m down through fog and snow to the prohibitive heat
and sea level of Arica. Here my fleece and heated vest were definitely
not required. At the friendly Chilean border there were missing
persons posters. It occurred to me to ask whether a certain Chilean
national (formerly residing at Her Majesty's pleasure), known as
Generallisimo Maximo Augusto Pinochet Ugarte might know the fate
of these poor people, but my Spanish did not feel up to the task.
Northern Chile and Bolivia could not be more different:
4000m Altiplano and sea-level, cold harsh conditions and tropical
heat, understandable Spanish and some total abortion of a dialect,
mad drivers and the most sanitised, homogenous boring driving ever
People stop at railway level crossings (yes, I realise
there are stop signs...) even in the middle of flat nowhere where
the last train passed a week ago. At some Hicksville hamlet where
I had my first puncture in the Americas fixed (on the front, after
hitting a big pothole hard coming over the crest of a hill, my 50000km
tube finally gave up the ghost), Commandant Senor Sergio
van de Boerwors
of the Chilean Constanbulary saw me commit a cardinal act !!?!.
Imagine the scene:
Bright sees railway line, slows
a little, ignores stop sign, swerves a bit so as to hit the railway
line perpendicular to the tracks....
S v d B sees this and comes rushing
out of his little Bus and Truck Inspection Hut and signals 'el Gringo
Criminalo' to ALTO!
Bright does just that and using
all the deft cunning developed on this trip, switches off the engine,
removes helmet and sunglasses and most importantly, shakes the man's
S v d B puffs out his chest and
begins to blather some garbage, something along the lines of 'When
Bright nods understandingly not
really knowing what 'le jefe' is mumbling, is totally scared (yeh
right) and tries to gauge whether he might have to pay a fine.
S v d B lets off Bright, because
deep down he think the law is a load of horsesh*t too.
After more hand shaking Bright
leaves the scene, only to drive past the checkpoint again in search
of the tyre-wallah. More confusion caused.... :-)
In San Pedro de Atacama I again team up with the
German couple, Lars and Tini, on their Africa Twin and we drive
back into Bolivia to Laguna Verde. Was this side trip worth it?
Most definitely! I would have loved to drive the whole way from
Uyuni across the Salar de Uyuni salt lake to Laguna Verde, but the
entire region being flooded, made it a bit difficult, even for me.
Another time... We camped at a hot spring and were greeted to a
great sunrise with flamingos and steam rising off the thermal water
overlooking the shimmering green water nestling against snow topped
peaks. Five meters from this 30°C H2O there was ice on the bikes!
How do you spot a Chilean hitchhiker?
The looong run down the Panam to Santiago was loooooooong!
And hot and boring. For the first time in now 70000km I had to stop
the bike because it was going to overheat. A 1000m rise over 80km,
40°C in the shade, a 100km/h tailwind (it was, I could ride
at 100 with my visor open.... the bike's windscreen is purely cosmetic)
and as the oil temp needle began to creep over 150°C, it was
time to stop. Lars and Tini needed to smoke a fag ('cigarette' for
my American readers) anyway.
Santiago is BIG. Mucho cars and silly one-way streets.
Normally not a hindrance for Bright goes where he wants, but now
again being a law-abiding citizen....
I'll tell you about everything south of Chile's
capital next time... hopefully with news of my arrival in Ushuaia.
Wish me luck...
Adios y hasta luego, Chrissssssimo
PS: How do you spot a Chilean hitchhiker? He/She
LOOKS TOTALLY COOOOOOOOL, needs a haircut, a shave and even wears
shades at midnight and is carrying a guitar and droning 'Amor/Corazon/Amor'
in no particular tuneless order.