Gonzalo Figueroa and Nina Maria Eidheim...

LA to BA

UPDATE 11: Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Mission Accomplished.

I will never forget the moments before leaving on our first motorcycle trip back in 97. Friends, acquaintances and the general public bid us farewell as if it was our funeral. You will be robbed, raped and rattled they said.

What can we say now, three trips and approx.. 70.000km later -except that they were wrong? Everything has gone according to plan, so smoothly that we cannot believe it ourselves! And once again, our theory that the majority of the people on this planet are actually nice has again been proven. Fortunately they prevail over the bad guys.

We left the city of La Paz in its general state of confusion. There were demonstrations, counter demonstrations, student celebrations, union protests, Indian uprisings, coca growers-roadblocks and the police -just in case- dosed everybody with tear gas. Plenty of tear gas. Walking around La Paz became an eye-watering experience and we finally understood why the city was full of street vendors selling small packs of tissues. 2 for the price of 1! As soon as the police peppered the main avenue with gas, a bunch of these salesmen showed up. 2 for the price of 1! Every opportunity in La Paz is a good one to sell something.

Anyway, we were advised to leave Bolivia by May 1 (May Day) since there were rumors that roadblocks would make leaving the country a rather adventurous affair. This matched our plans perfectly since we were already longing for meat and wine in Argentina. We drove to Oruro due south of La Paz, put the motorcycle on one of the two weekly trains to the Argentine border, and avoided the 600 km of rat-tat-tat washboard to Villazon.

Once in Argentina, we headed to the capital of the province of Jujuy and visited our very good friend Lalo Artero whom we had met at the side of the road a year before. Lalo is a very talented lawyer despite the fact that he finds law a rather questionable occupation (so do we). That's why he runs from it as much as he can by jumping on his motorcycle and travelling up and down the Andes.

We stayed with Lalo for a week and spent most of that time eating, drinking and relaxing. When we had our first "asado" (argentine barbecued meat) in 12 months we consumed (devoured) 6 kilos of meat between 4 people. Nina and me take responsibility for 4 of those 6. As I have said often, Argentine meat is the Ferrari of the cow world. As regards the wine, that entire week should have been sponsored by Bodegas Balbo. The bottles went as if they contained mineral water.

We finally left Jujuy a few kilos heavier, a few brain cells lighter and in a general state of calm happiness. The drive to Buenos Aires was dull on good but all-too-straight roads. We resorted to our number one money saving technique when in Argentina which consists in never paying for a place to sleep. Thus we found ourselves camping in the backyard of a police station among some hideous looking car wrecks. Nevertheless everything looked a lot better after a wonderful night eating cured ham and drinking gin. Next day was more of the same except this time we ended up camping behind a gas station in a very small agricultural town. As soon as we arrived we caught the attention of the entire town and it did not take long before we were being interviewed by local cable television. With all the attention he has received throughout this trip Gonzalo has often felt like Julia Roberts.

During the interview he almost launched into a speech thanking for the Oscar. Soon after we were once again eating another barbecue courtesy of about 15 of the local lads. After football, eating an "asado" is the second most important Argentine national "sport". We must also modestly admit that Argentines are probably the second most friendliest bunch in South America, second only to the Brazilians. All throughout the country we are constantly being invited to eat, drink and even to peoples homes.

We finally arrived in Buenos Aires after shooting our way down the freeway from Rosario. The motorcycle was working as if it were almost new thanks to the high octane gasoline and the low altitude. We say "almost" because it just needs its regular service. Otherwise, it works perfect. For all you motorcycle lovers, we may conclude that the Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin is an excellent machine. We have had absolutely NO problems. I repeat: None. We drove 20.000 km (12.500 miles) and the only thing we did to the bike was change the oil twice, repair one puncture and replace a pair of worn out tires. Otherwise, nothing. Nichts. Nada. Although we like to ride a motorcycle, we consider the machine only an instrument and not an end in itself. Therefore, not having to spend time polishing, fixing or cuddling with it gives us even greater pleasure of owning one.

As we sit here in Buenos Aires visiting our friends (and still eating) we already joke about future destinations. A "short" trip to Libya, or maybe Turkey. A drive from Norway to India. A detour to Tibet. There's so much to see, so much to learn and…

Obsessions die hard,

Gonzalo and Nina Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 14, 2001.

PS: Don't shove your dreams into a cupboard. Do them.
PPS: Feel free to contact us if there's something you want to know.
PPPS: There will be some sort of epilogue to all this, so if we have not yet bored you to death, we surely will!!!

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So who are we?

Update 1, November 2000, First road report

UPDATE 2, Dec. 5, 2000, Baja California, Hola amigos y que viva Mexico!

UPDATE 3, Dec. 17, 2000, Central Mexico

UPDATE 4, January 4 2001, Southern Mexico

UPDATE 5, January 31 2001, Guatemala

Update 6, Feb 7 2001, Honduras and Nicaragua

Update 7, Feb 15 2001, Costa Rica

Update 8, Mar 8 2001, Huaraz, Peru

Update 9 April 7, 2001, Cusco, Peru

Update 10 April 23, 2001, Bolivia

Update 11: May 15, 2001, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Story and photos copyright © Gonzalo Figueroa and Nina Maria Eidhein 2000-2001.
All Rights Reserved.
Webmaster:
Grant Johnson

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