December 31, 2008 GMT
Waterfalls, friends and being robbed!! December 2008 update

The tourist office in Posadas gave us a number of options to bunk down for the evening so ‘cruising’ the streets on a very quiet Sunday was a different experience. Posadas is another river city and has a very active waterfront laced with parks and restaurants. The evening brought no respite from the afternoon heat and hundreds of people gathered on the grassed banks trying to get cool in the river breeze. Restaurants were packed as we walked the pathways searching for a suitable eatery. Outside tables were at a premium so it was inside or nothing. Whew!!! Was it hot!!.. and sleeping that night was even stickier and humid.

063 PB240095 The waterfront at  Posadas.jpg
The waterfront at Posadas

Although Posadas was a pleasant city the road out was even better as we headed north to Pt. Iguazu. While moving we collected the breeze through our vented jackets… stopping was a very damp affair so drinking plenty of water was essential. “Grande agua con gas por favor!” Our standard request at road houses. Ruta 12 caused no hassles as we arrived in Pt. Iguazu. With the volume of tourists passing through this town we were surprised how small it was but this makes finding places much easier. We booked into Camping Americano and pitched the tent for the first time since Termas del Rio Hondo. Green grass, huge trees giving a shady canopy, covered asado areas, swimming pool plus Wifi at the office made for a luxury camping facility.

064 IMG_7270 View of Iguazu Falls from the Circuito Superior Upper Trail.jpg
View of Iguazu Falls from the Circuito Superior Upper Trail

065 IMG_7289 Looking down to the lower trail.jpg
Looking down to the lower trail

066 IMG_7323 What a wonderful place.jpg
What a wonderful place

067 IMG_7328 Ken with Gretel and Pascale.jpg
Ken with Gretel and Pascale

It was here that we planned to meet up with Pascale and Gretel, two Belgian girls riding South America on a BMW 650GS. Pascale stayed with us several years ago when she traveled Australia. They bussed it to the falls and we rode, parking and securing the bike in the parking lot we ventured into the National Park. The falls are nothing short of superb, spectacular and worth every cent of the US$60 entry fee.

068 IMG_7334 Another view of the falls.jpg
Another view of the falls

069 IMG_7336 Sooo much water.jpg
Sooo much water

070 PB250217 Cooling down in the spray from the falls.jpg
Cooling down in the spray from the falls

071 IMG_7343 Iguazu Falls.jpg
Iguazu Falls

072 IMG_7367 Sharp teeth on the South American Coati.jpg
South American Coati

However it was here we experienced our lowest moment of our 14 months and 33,000 kms journey. On returning to the bike we removed the cover to reveal our helmets were missing. No trace… The cable, lock, bag and helmets were gone. These were new Shoei Multitec helmets purchased in June 2008 along with the headsets for our new Autocom intercom. Carol stayed with the bike and I walked the 50 metres to the entrance and reported the theft. We were informed that there was no security in the car park despite us hearing to the contrary, and the rangers were surprised we had parked there. A sympathetic hearing plus a typed report were given and a recommendation that we report the incident to the police. Carol searched the area for any residue of the bag, cable and lock to no avail so we rode the 20kms into town to report the theft. We contacted the Belgium’s girls by SMS who joined us at the Police Station and were instrumental in getting the story ‘right’ on the Police Report. A good time to know Spanish… Muchas gracias girls.

073 IMG_7386 Beautiful butterflies are everywhere at Iguazu National Park.jpg
Beautiful butterflies are everywhere in Iguazu National Park

074 PB250258 The walk way to Devils Throat.jpg
The walk way to Devils Throat

075 PB250270 Getting wet at  Devils Throat.jpg
Getting wet at Devils Throat

076 IMG_7433 Overlanders Mark and Karhrin.jpg
Overlanders Mark and Karhrin

We were unable to buy suitable helmets in Iguazu so our recently acquired friends from the HU community in Corrientes, Gerardo and Patricia, came to the rescue and freighted two helmets to us by bus. From here we rode to Buenos Aires where we hoped to be able to purchase new ones or even arrange to have some brought in to Argentina.

077 IMG_7439 Our campsite at El Viejo Americano Puerto Iquazu.jpg
Our campsite at El Viejo Americano

078 IMG_7440 The covered asado area.jpg
The covered asado area

Our trip south to the capital was bit of a blur but I remember the first day out from Iguazu we were stopped three times by Police for document checks in some very remote places. Each time I brought up the issue of our stolen helmets and were greeted with “Brazilians” as the likely culprits. It amazed us that an area like Iguazu that possibly brings in millions of tourist dollars every year has no form of security in the vicinity of the falls and yet in really isolated areas along the highways police are stationed to do document checks. We wonder how many criminals/robbers are found in this manner!!!! Perhaps there is a way these resources could be better employed …maybe to protect a source of income crucial to Argentina’s economy. Just a thought…

079 PC010302 Bikes outside Dakar Motos.jpg
Bikes outside Dakar Motos

Arriving in B A our friends from Dakar Motos, Javier and Sandra assisted us greatly to obtain replacement helmets. Our thanks especially goes to Fabrizio who spent a lot of time and effort organizing the transport of the new helmets. Muchas gracias amigo…….

We spent several days in Buenos Aires arranging this with the final leg being getting Intercom headsets sent over from Australia via regular post. This will probably take a few days as it was Christmas and the mail systems during this time are generally clogged with cards and presents. During our stay in BA we were able to meet up with a fellow Aussie Trish Geritz, who was doing a leg in South America which included an Antarctic cruise. We met up for dinner one night and it was fun to exchange news from the other side of the world.

080 IMG_7444 Peaches nearly ready to be picked at Arnie and  Helenas.jpg
Peaches nearly ready to be picked at Arnie and Helena’s

081 IMG_7452 Arnie with Gretel and Ken under the canopy of grapes.jpg
Arnie with Gretel and Ken under the canopy of grapes

082 PC180387 Gretel and Pascale with their bike.jpg
Gretel and Pascale with their bike

With everything organized we returned the borrowed helmets to our friends in Corrientes and headed back to John and Annette’s farm in San Rafael. Here we met up with our Belgium friends who we joined to look after the farm for a few days while the owners jumped aboard their KLR’s and headed south for a short break before the harvest in January. For our social outing we took the girls over to Arnie and Helena’s for lunch where the Europeans spoke their native tongue for hours under the cool canopy of a very lush grape vine. The peach trees were loaded with blushing fruit and the transformation from our house sitting stay in August to the summer harvest time was a sight to behold.
Helena commented “I know why I like this place so much when we come to this time of year” She was gearing up for the big harvest and to bottle several fruits as preserves and jams for home consumption. Mmmmmm!!!

What a difference a few days makes. Our lunch date with Arnie and Helena was 17th December. On the evening of the 20th a hale storm passed through and wiped out their entire crop. On Sunday Annette, Carol and I went over to help with the clean up. John was left to do water day alone. The sight of the devastated crops along the road to A & H’s was unbelievable. I struggle to deal with side of farming. We set to and cleaned up the smashed fruit, shredded leaves and broken branches. We saved a few kilos of battered fruit, picked up the bruised green walnuts and trimmed the broken branches from the peach trees.

083 PC180394 Ken Annette John Gretel Carol and Pascale at Finca Rita.jpg
Ken, Annette, John, Gretel, Carol and Pascale at Finca Rita

084 PC210416 Arnie and Helenas place after the hail storm.jpg
Arnie and Helena’s place after the hail storm

A quiet Christmas with John and Annette but a more lively Boxing Day gathering when Arnie and Helena joined the four of us for lunch. Then another depressing sight. The bike had pulled another barrel stud and we were just about to leave for B A for the start of the Dakar Rallye. How do we get this fixed during the holiday season?? We sourced an engineer through a good friend in San Rafael (thanks Jack) in order to make a thread to fit the growing hole. John drove me to and from the shop in the old F100 interrupting his farming routine. Thanks a million John. After some long hours we finally got the bike on the road again. While I was playing bike mechanic Carol was doing some farm maintenance. There is always something to do on a farm.

085 PC210430 Hail damaged peaches.jpg
Hail damaged peaches

086 PC210433 Some of the hail was still there the next day.jpg
Some of the hail was still there the next day

We departed San Rafael on the 31st December spending a very quiet New Year in a motel half way between S.R. and B.A. at Grl. Villegas. Nothing to do but watch TV… a special on John Lennon which we really enjoyed. Arriving in B A on the 1st we met up with Javier from Dakar Motos who was about to head into La Rural to view the Dakar Rallye vehicles. They were still doing the scrutineering checks when we arrived and the crowd queued around the city block to gain entry. We spent several hours pushing our way through thousands of enthusiastic supporters and were a little disappointed we could not get closer to the motorcycles although we did make contact over the fence with Chris Barrierre-Varju #205 from Team Australia. More Dakar to come in the next update.

087 IMG_7574 Dakar rider Chris Barrierre Varju 205 from Team Australia.jpg
Dakar rider Chris Barrierre-Varju #205 from Team Australia

Posted by Ken Duval at December 31, 2008 01:40 AM GMT

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