´Fraid so; It’s true. I look good, feel
great and smell........ baaaaad. Why? Because it is hottttttttttt,
which is fine if you’re on a beach flexing your bronzed muscles,
but not wearing full bike gear (that is black helmet, black jacket,
black trousers: we won’t mention the boots!) in the heat of
the midday sun (who said something about crazy canines and Pommies...).
Maybe I could send you a sample of my armpit odour via an attachment?
It is strange to remember that 10 weeks ago I was riding through
a snowstorm over a 4500m pass, trying not to get hypothermia in
Have covered maybe 5000km in the last month, which
ain't bad, but over 3000 of that was bobbing up and down in a variety
of boats down the Amazon. Here are a few random thoughts. As usual,
nothing coherent: am waiting again for my 'Aunt' Tini to say I sound
a little ´spacey´. No fraid not: totally sober.
A few final comments on Peru. I forgot to mention
in the last report: Finally got a speeding ticket, or rather paid
12 bucks not to get a 60 dollar ticket. I tried my hardest to talk
my way out of it, but to no avail. The copper chased me on a Harley
Davidson !!!!! :-( I was doing 95 km/h in a 35 zone. Nearly ran
him over has he tried to flag me down. C´est la vie.
Great watching them being thrown overboard
The road from Tarapoto to Yurimaguas was singularly
the worst in the whole world. And it was dry. A day later it chucked
it down, so was might lucky there. From Yurimaguas to Iquitos, shared
the boat with 40 odd cattle. Great watching them being thrown overboard
at the end. Am still removing bits from the bike after driving through
where they were camped out on the foredeck for 3 days.
Iquitos, a city only served by air and water was
great fun. Too hot for my tender disposition though.
Took several boats for the 3000km odyssey to Belem
on the Atlantic coast of Brazil, including a dug out canoe. I have
seen it all now. The bike has been dragged, winched, carried and
a couple of times even driven on and off boats. Spending 2 weeks
in a hammock is something everybody should try once. It was OK when
the boat was moving, but stopping every couple of hours turned up
Had everything short of (a pun there?) electrodes
attached to extreme parts of my anatomy one night at a police stop.
They were searching for narcotics. They found my bike. Kind of hard
to hide really. My bike paperwork was not in order.... Oh what joy.
Made it through after the boss’s boss told the boss not to
In cleared customs in Manaus. Since then I haven´t
seen too many boys in blue. Maybe they are all down the beach eyeing
up the talent. I would be too.
Women (a.k.a talent): No one wears
much and it is at least one size too small. Which is great a lot
of the time, but with some samples it would be appropriate for them
to wear clothing 5 sizes to big and a bag over their head. Mostly
it is good though.
Men/drivers: They are generally
friendly and helpful (not that I can understand a word they say:
I try to smile a lot and give them the thumbs up) when not in or
on a motor. When they are on a bike or behind the wheel, good night
(I am regularly tempted to display another hand gesture, other than
the thumbs up). Absolute and utter animals. In Africa they say 'Life
is cheap': It is the same on a Brazilian road.
Roads: Maybe because of the above,
they are deliberately in an African standard and have lots of speed
Food and Lodging: Since the devaluation
of the Real, Brazil is good value. 2 years ago it was 1 to 1 with
the US$, now it is 2.7 to the greenback.
Fuel: Expensive and substandard.
Beaches: Ahhh yes; large and plentiful
sandy affairs with lots of views.
Football: Today Brazil is mourning:
Last night they lost 3-1 to Bolivia and might not qualify for the
World Cup next year.
In Peru and Bolivia everybody reckoned I was German.
Here I have been asked whether I’m Bolivian (!!!!!), Argentinean
and at least 5 time whether I’m Italian. Do I look a Luigi
or a Guido? Seriously, please. Thanks to our own Tone Blair, they
have heard of ´Inglaterra´. Since I discussed the goat’s
shock absorber with Tone, it works fine too.
The old goat is now hotwired. Why? The ignition
key fell out while driving (OK, yet more dirt and corrugation) and
was gone. The bike did not stop, so it could have happened anywhere
in the previous 30km. No problem, you think: use the spare. I would
if it would fit!!!!!!!!!!! After 2 hours on the side of the road
in the midday heat, Goaty now has 2 (or 5 if you include the wires
to make the lights work) suspicious looking wires coming out of
my instrument display. The steering lock and my big chains still
work, and the wires are actually well hidden, so I hope nobody nicks
Reading about all those poor overlanders doing a detour round Pakistan,
I feel very lucky that I returned to South America rather than doing
the London-Kathmandu that I had envisaged. It seems to be the safest
place on the planet at present. I hope, wherever you are, that you,
your family and friends are safe.