July 01, 2002 GMT
8. Manaus to Caracas, Mirrored ceilings and 12-Guage "friends"

The nasty shock I got returning from French Guiana was that my bike pants and jacket had started "growing" in my touratech boxes the 4 days I was away...

...It looked better than a Petri dish experiment from science class...


My rotting pants

My science project...


I blitzed it from Manaus to Caracas ( 2,600km's) in 4 days, as I needed to catch up some time to meet the objective of reaching Alaska before it turns brass monkey. This didn't do any justice to Venezuela, and I know a return visit someday is a must.

The only photo's I managed on the way were one of the obligigatory chain oiling ritual, a bit of a hassle without a centre stand, and a sign in Brasil's Gran Sabana reserve advising no photography...., understandably that had to be taken.


Oh praise to thee my humble bike...

The chain oiling process, spray a bit, move the bike forward, spray a bit, move the bike forward.....



No Photo's.... what ?

Never say this to a man with a camera...


Further on in Venezuela I stopped at a place called Piedra de Santa Maria, where there is also one of those shrines for road accident victims. This one was lined with poignant pictures and drivers licenses of the less fortunate, and many motorists make a point of stopping, saying thier prayers and lighting a candle before returning to the road.


DSC00127.jpg

Makes you think.....


Coming through Barcelona I saw a guy on a German registered R100GS, but unfortunately the unfriendly sod didn´t even bother to stop. I was keen to get some information on how to get my bike to Panama, and obviously it wasn't going to come from him !

I drove on to Caracas tha same evening, and found a hotel that seemed to be near the center. ( I later learned that El Centro was a further 25 minutes down the Autopista). The hotel turned out to be one of those 'Park and Shag' numbers, with discrete parking, mirrors on every flat surface possible, and piped porn on the TV. The next day I relocated to Hotel Broadway, which charged by the day and not by the hour...

During a city wander near the Plaza Bolivar I came across what looked like a political rally, but then I noticed the swarms of Military Police, Army, and plainclothed men wearing those CIA type sunglasses surrounding the Museum. Eventually curiosity got the better of me and I asked this officer if there was someone important around. He looked at me with this 'you ignorant gringo tourist' expression in his eyes and said : "El Presidente". The next thing I knew Chavez himself emerged from the Bolivar Musuem to the applause of the mob, and off he went in his cavalcade of black SUV's.

Talking to various locals, Chavez seems to have the support of lower classes, while the middle class is fairly slim. Half of the Ministers are on the take, and the country seems to be sliding towards a big crisis. While I was there the local currency was doing it's own slide too.

The owner of the Hotel Broadway turned out to be a biker himself, with a Ducati Monster and Honda 1800 parked in the hotel garage. He put me in touch with two local Africa Twin Owners, Pablo Santa Catalina and Juan Carlos Burguillos, really nice guys who I'm sure would help any rider coming through Caracas.


The Africa Twins

The Africa Twins


Juan Jose carries a Glock 9mm pistol loaded with hollowpoint rounds to protect his pride and joy, and he has in fact used it pursuing would be riders who tried screw-driving his ignition barrel. Pablo pointed out that although many car and expensive bike owners carry weapons, there is normally little chance to use them, as the first sign of trouble is ususally a gun barrel pressing against the side of your head.


Where have I pointed that thing ?

Juan, me, and his Glock pointing at the family jewels...


Guns seemed to be everywhere in Venezuela, like in Upata when I asked if my bike would be secure behind the hotel, the nightwatchman said he and his friend 12 Guage would look after things. 12 Guage was in fact a very short sawn off shotgun which looked more like a pistol...

After two days scouting around the airport I settled on flying the bike to Panama using a customs agent reccomended by the Copa Cargo Airlines representative. The cost was a staggering 800 USD, which although painfully expensive saves a lot of time and hassle associated with shipping. ( Ecuador to Panama is 600 USD for example ).Originally I had a price of 580 USD, but that soon turned into 800 USD as the weight by dimension had a higher value. ( Even removing the wheels and handlebars would not have helped)


.

Last seen in Caracas...


Even the agency had to slip folding curreny in the palms of various officials during the process to enter the customs area, which they told me was to ensure the safety of the bike until it departed.

In the end, we both made it Panama in one piece....

Posted by Jeremy Andrews at July 01, 2002 12:43 AM GMT
Comments

Hi Jeremy,

have fun and good luck!

Dominik

Posted by: Dominik Endler on July 1, 2002 09:50 AM GMT

Hi Jeremy,
long time no see.
Du bist noch immer unterwegs und Neid Neid kannst dem Leben und neuen Eindrücken frönen.
Und wir - müssen noch immer arbeiten. Aber wir haben es so gewollt.
Nachdem ich nun Deinen jetzigen Abschnitt gelesen habe, will ich auch die letzten noch anschauen.
Viel Spaß und Glück weiterhin.

Alles Liebe Andrea

Posted by: Andrea Ohl on July 1, 2002 10:30 AM GMT

Hi bloke,

long time no seen. How´s it going? We talk about you last time. Hope to get soon some news.

xxxxxx
Jutta + Joachim

Posted by: Jutta on July 1, 2002 04:42 PM GMT

Hey Jeremy,

How many kilometres did you make?


Tell me the total at Okt. Fest!!
Go Jeremy, Go!!!

Hedgehog

Posted by: Ryu - Tu hermano tonto on July 1, 2002 04:44 PM GMT

Hi Jezza,
Watching your adventures with great interest - shame to miss out on Colombia and it is really worthwhile - doesn't sound any worse than some of your other ventures.

Hope you are back in NZ by January and we are planning a visit and it would be great to catch up on your stories over a few Steinlagers.

Take care and hope to see you soon.

Lara & Paul

Posted by: Lara on July 1, 2002 05:15 PM GMT

Hola
Jeremi
Quedaron buenas las fotos, te ves muy bien con la pistola, ahora nadie te molestará en el viaje, espero que sigas con buena suerte en esa hermosa aventura, aqui en Venezuela tienes unos amigos, esperamos que la proxima vez, podamos compartir alguna parte del viaje y también te llevaremos a conocer bien Caracas.
Bay bay
Good Luck

Posted by: Juan Carlos on July 2, 2002 04:32 AM GMT

hello jeremy
nice t shirt !
i am in canada , trinking bier and taking care tu mi ass ! i tell you it is hot like hell in mexiko , arizona is iven warmer ! good look and take care johannes

Posted by: johannes on July 2, 2002 09:10 AM GMT

Jeremy,
so ein Lotterleben in einem der schönsten Erdteile!!

Ich wünschte es teilen zu können!!

Weiter alles Gute und sichere Fahrt.

Günter Maciej

Posted by: Guenter Maciej on July 3, 2002 09:52 AM GMT

Have you managed to exercise the family jewels yet, with a person of the opposite sex ?
Please note: I have cut my nails.
Kindest Regards,
Annette.

Posted by: Annette on July 4, 2002 06:30 PM GMT

Anxious about getting the family jewels home?
I am waiting for your last guess where we are going - maybe you are right!
We just came back from 3 days on the Isle of Wight. Originally it was planned for 8 days, but the weather was just too English!!!!!
Have fun and take care - see above ...
H3C

Posted by: Heike on July 4, 2002 08:12 PM GMT

Hi,
Seems like you are having a great experience, which I will follow with interest.
Best wishes and luck
John

Posted by: John T on July 5, 2002 12:48 PM GMT

Hi Jeremy,
just came from Manaus to Brazilia, too bad that we missed each other.
Hope to see you soon

Posted by: petra on July 5, 2002 10:46 PM GMT

Dude,

what a trip you are having!!! Following you online makes us both envious...

We were in venezuela in November last year, very nice, went up to Merida, then Los Llanos for the animals, Santa fe and puerto Colombia for beach - all in all a relaxing and beautiful trip, met loads of people...

Munich has 33 degrees as well - not bad - we just got back from Sweden, 14 degrees and a bit of rain every day...

Looking forward to the next installment,

Håkan

Posted by: Håkan on July 9, 2002 01:32 PM GMT

Hey Jaz, I'm just pleased to see that you are still alive, and if nothing else still have your humour. Been away for five weeks in Aus, will tell you more when we get together. Love and hugs
Gary.

Posted by: Gary on July 11, 2002 04:06 AM GMT

Strange, first time I have seen your web site and look who has just sent you an email. Hope you are having the time of your life! I am hanging in there.
Love Therese

Posted by: Therese on July 11, 2002 10:27 AM GMT

DUDE!!!!
I wanna be there.
Farm life doesnt sound anywhere near as exciting as this. Hope you are taking time to savour the moments. Have you found what your looking for???
Love and cuddles
Wacko

Posted by: Wacko on July 12, 2002 07:45 AM GMT

saludos de tus amigos de caracas y esperamos que tu viaje sea muy interesante de todas maneras te estamos siguiendo en tu web saludos pablo y mimo.

Posted by: hotel broadway (mimo) on July 13, 2002 02:57 AM GMT

from; SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. you will be hitting my region of the world in about a day or two.let me know if i can be of any assistnce to you upon your arrival.

Bryan Kinne.
bkinne@hotmail.com

Posted by: bryan on July 13, 2002 07:21 PM GMT

hi jaza
good to see that you are alive and well. and looks like you are having one incredible adventure. we all think you are bloody mad.
take care and keep the stories coming.
big hugs claire

Posted by: claire bear on July 13, 2002 10:43 PM GMT

Hi,

Great to be able to keep tabs on your adventures ... can't believe you wondered into the "pay by the hour joint" by accident.

As they say here .. alles van die beste en sterkte!

Peter and Marthinus

Posted by: Peter on July 17, 2002 01:23 PM GMT

Hola Jeremy, como vas hermano...Todo Bien????
Felicitaciones, estàs cumpliendo el gran sueño de tu vida... Nosotros confiamos que ahora hables español...!!! Son hermosas tus fotos...pero con la pistola tenè cuidado, las pistolas glok no tienen seguro...:-)
We are trying to start a new comunity in Viedma to help at the travelers...
We hope that some day you come again. Mucha suerte y que seas siempre muy feliz.-
Chauuuu....
Camila, Fluffy, Nancy y Oscar.-

Posted by: Familia Knecht on August 6, 2002 12:59 AM GMT

hello friend:
here writing Fluffly
¿how go your travel?
I wait that come again soon
to viedma
very much luck!!!
sorry for the mistakes.
que disfrutes mucho tu viaje

bye
flufly...

Posted by: flufly on August 7, 2002 01:39 AM GMT

I d like to know how is the border and the road between Venezuela and Brasil, going from Caracas to Fortaleza. I am european but my motocycle I bought it in Colombia, new Freevind, do I need Motoclub carnet, in Brazil they told me that I do not,

Thanks for any inf.

Tom

Posted by: tom on February 10, 2003 03:30 AM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.
 
 

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