October 07, 2007 GMT
Tudo Bem? Tudo Bom!


What can be said about Brazil? It is:
Big, Bold, Beautiful, Brassy, Boobs, Bums, Babes, Beaches, Breakfast, Beans, Bikes and Bloody Friendly!


* Go to the Brazillian Embassy and sort out visa requirements;
* Drive up to the Argentine Customs & Immigration window;
* Complete formalities
* Drive Across the International Bridge

One Bike in Brazil & One Bike in Argentina
Marcel and Grant

* Park bike and complete Immigration
* Walk over to the Customs and temporarily import bike
* No additional fees required

Bem Vindo a Brazil

We muddled through Customs and Immigration, suddenly finding that Portuguese is nothing like Spanish, however, all the officials were very friendly and helpful and seemed to understand our poor Spanish.

International Border

Cruising the three lane highway, with a multitude of modern high powered cars alongside, and high above on the overpass, a horse drawn cart stacked with a Brazillian family trots contentedly by while ramshackle huts are built close to the well maintained road to Cascavael.

Horses and Carts - waiting for thier next job

Between the three of us (Grant, Marcel and Jules) we held the equivalent sum of NO money and were in dire need of hitting an ATM.

The first machine would not accept international cards, the second, third, fourth and fifth gave us the same response.

Parking in the mall - Cascavael
Photo courtesy of Marcel

Discouraged, we parked the bikes in a paved shopping mall and parked ourselves at a small eatery where we mulled over the menu, finally deciding on the only familiar thing.... hamburgers!

Jules spied an HSBC bank and ran across the busy road.... sucess 'Maestro and Cirrus accepted'... financially solvent.... now we could pay for our lunch. A new waitress had started her shift and she spoke some English, so at least we could get some hot chips with our hamburgers!

Lunch Stop - Cascavael
Photo courtesy of Marcel

Piggy's chain & sprockets had been clunking for some time, the noise was horrific and emabarassing. We asked the Lassie from the restaurant if she knew where a Suzuki dealer was located, she did not, instead she organised for a scooter riding friend to take us there.

Upon arriving, the moto mechanic quickly checks over the noisy chain and observes how loose it is, so with spanners in hand, his intention is to adjust the chain.

Grant seeing the spanners motions him to the chain and spins the rear wheel showing the mechanic that, indeed, the chain is adjusted correctly in one spot, however the chain is badly stretched in other sections. The mechanic soon realises that Grant had actually adjusted the chain correctly.

There once was rainforrest

Curitiba was our first look at Brazil's obsession with high rise appartments and motor bikes.

We visited Moto-Central where dealerships and parts stores line the streets. It was early Saturday morning and the place was already 'heaving'.

Loud rock music pumped out of the stores, coffee and cakes were on offer to shoppers, bikes roared up and down the ashphalt. The atmosphere was electric and festive, however, you could not hear yourself think.

Cool Mural

We hit the stores in search of a new chain, (we were carrying sprockets from the Chain Gang in Australia - Chris is on the ball and very helpful), oil filter, oil and other sundry bits and pieces.

When leaving one shop it was announced over the loud speaker that 'Round the World Australian Motorcyclists' had been shopping there... we wondered who they were!!!

Where we could not be understood in Spanish, someone - customers and shop assitants a like - would come to our rescue. People would draw maps, diagrams, give directions, tell us of other stores who may have what we were looking for, help us in every way possible, their kindness was overwelming.

Monster Truck

With bits in hand, a monster truck appeared out of nowhere and presently drove over a car several times. Crushing it flat to the cheering, caffine hopped-up crowd.... this was a very surreal experience. It was then that we decided to find a quiet place to think and change the chain.

The quiet place came in the form of Motoshow, a small dealership and work shop far from the maddening crowds. The owner gave us workshop space and assistance to remove the old chain and put the new on. Life is so much easier on top of a hoist!

Work Space at Motoshow in Curitiba

When it was time to leave they would not accept any payment for hire of space, tools or help, we were told they were very happy to assist us and wished us well on our trip. Again, the kindess of strangers never ceases to impress us.

It was not 'all work and no play'. Estaçaco Shopping Centre with great food (best Thai Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice outside of Thailand) and where a goggle eyed Grant has never seen so many beautiful young and older women in one place at one time. Jules felt ever so daggy and unattractive in her practical clothes and helmet hair.

View of French Garden from Glass House - Curitiba

We visited the botanical gardens with a beautiful glass house filled to the brim with bromeliads and other exotic local flora. We were even treated to an exhibition of orchids.

Myriad of Orchids

Florinopolis, for us, was less than inspiring. Busy noisy traffic and generally had an unsavoury atmosphere in the evenings.

Waiting for the Big Bang - Road works

So we continued to Torres, a long the way were stopped at some major road works. Motorcycles were ushered to the front of the queue (thank you!) where we waited for 45 minutes until blasting was completed. A loud bang preceded the plume of smoke and after the road was finally cleared we were escorted, by the police, past the blast site.

Bikes Go First - Police escort

Torres is a quite and unassuming coastal resort town with maginficent cliff walks offering the opportunity to see seals at close quarters and to watch the local fishermen casting thier lines from the 150 foot sheer cliffs to the waters below.

'Jules... I think you can get down to the beach from here..... I think!'
Grant - Torres


Virgin Alcançada - Patron Saint of Fishermen

Fishing from the Cliffs - Torres

It was almsot about this time that Miss Piggy had developed somewhat of a serious cough. Cruising happily at 100 kms for an hour when sudden throttle shut off would cause the motor to stall.

A Ride on the Sand

Reigniting by roll starting would leave only one cylinder firing at low speed. After some experimentation it was discovered that stopping completely and turning the ignition off and then on again to start would allow everything to work ok, at least until the next cough.

Hey! What does that say? Thats not Spanish!

We deduced that the lousy fuel in Brazil may be the culprit at an exagerated 85% octane and laced with a great deal of sugar cane alcohol.

Marcel - Swiss BMW GS1200

Returning to Argentina via Uraguay was a good idea at the time on a busy Saturday morning we arrived at the border town. After farting around, for what seemed an eternity, and finding the Brazillian Immigration we headed to the Urugayain post.

'Australian's need a visa to enter Uruguay' said the Immigration Officer

'No, sir' replied Jules 'I have not read any information that Australian's need a visa for Uruguay'

'As of last week it changed, you will need to visit the consulate on Monday to organise it!'

Great... do we hang around for two days or do something else?

A brief and unsuccessful soiree into Uruguay

Something else was to ride through the beautiful rolling hills of 'Gaucho Country' and cross into Argentina at Paso de los Libres. So that's what we did.

With Piggy coughing and spluttering we left Brazil. Even though our stay was brief we enjoyed our time thoroughly. Our circuit through the southern states showed us the people of Brazil were welcoming, friendly and helpful. It is certainly on our list of places to visit again in the future.

Fishing off the rocks - Torres

Posted by Julie Rose at 07:18 PM GMT
The Last South American Run

Oh My! That's a dirty fuel filter!

Back in Argentina, and finding that changing the fuel did not really help Miss Piggy's nasty cough infact it got worse. Grant pulled out the fuel filter for inspection. The pre-filter mesh was.... well, you look at the photo!

OOOH Goody, Choices!

Cleaning the mesh and soaking the cartridge in clean fuel had the bike running well once again, however, at 115,000kms Grant suspected the fuel cartridge was fianally shagged, and rather ironically in the last 200 km run back to San Rafael the symptoms appeared once again.

Sunset - Federacion

Where are my glasses..... Jules.... Jules!
Thermal Baths at Federacion

A town where you can walk around in your bathrobe all day!

Apparently Maria has the best regional treats in all of Argentina

Cattle Barge

Whose your little friend Piggy??
Check out the panniers under the seat!

Snow and ice greeted us on our return to San Rafael for a two and a half months stay, caretaking a friend's apartment.

Snow Man - San Rafael

There were jobs to do, friends to re-unite with, wine to drink and preparations for our next continent, Africa, to make.

Gate at John & Annettes

Amongst chunks of slow melting ice in the back verandah Grant went to work on Miss Piggy.

Rosie looks for a snow ball

After 115,000 kilometres the fuel filter cartridge was finally shagged. At a rather exorbitant US$300.00 per item, with no ready supply (apart from shipping one down from the United States), the Internet was accessed for a reliable modification that could be performed.

Working on the Fuel Filter By-Pass

We found one, bypassing the original filter and placing an in-line injector filter from a Renault car snuggly between the air box and frame. Cost: around US$10.00. Problem solved.

Problem Solved

Grant had been toying with the idea of constructing a fully enclosed chain case, similar to the one that had been factory fitted to our previous bike (1981 Yamaha TR1 1,000 V-Twin - a rare breed). It was a remarkably effective device and proved that the whole concept of an enclosed chain is possible, but probably not continued by manufacturers simply because they would not have an after sales market for chains and sprockets! Is that possible??? We don't know... anyway constructing such an animal seemed like a good idea at the time.

Stage 1 - Development

Stage 2 - Assembly

Stage 3 - Testing

Six weeks later, after much swearing and cursing and narrowly escaping a marriage break-up, Grant did indeed have the case developed and working, gasps of excitement ensued! It is still a little clunky and needs a small adjustment but we will get there.

For many years now we have been hearing about the illusive and famous (maybe infamous) Ken and Carol Duval from Brisbane, Australia. They are good friends of our finca mates John and Annette. Ken and Carol are now on their second RTW motorcycle journey, starting in South America. They lobbed up at the farm and also at our home stay for a few days.

Ken, Grant, Carol & Andrea

Ken and Grant replaced the swing arm bearings on Piggy, utilising what we had on hand to make the job a little easier.

Boiling the Swing Arm

Ken and Grant press the new bearings

After a hard day farming, sitting down to cottage pie for dinner, the dogs barking accompanied the distinct sound of a motorcycle pulling up in the driveway. Who were Rosie and Rita announcing, none other than Emma and Hamish on Bertha. A huge surprise to see them, one last time, before we left South America.

The last few days in San Rafael on John and Annette's farm saw us singing for our supper in various ways. Pulling wires from grape vines, mending pannier frames on Johns KLR, killing the 'Big Dick' - the most enormous, evil and vicious rooster known to humankind!

A teary farewell to our 'Moto Familia', followed by a quick run to Buenos Aires and a smoothly organised shipping by air of the three of us saw us land in Cape Town, South Africa on the 15th of November 2007.

Shipping by Air

Buenos Aires, Argentina to Cape Town, South Africa


We used Malaysia Airlines. They fly twice a week (Wednesdays and Sundays), the bike will go on the same flight as you.

You will need to use a Shipping Agent. 'Delfino' are the preferred agents for Malaysia Airlines, telephone: +54 11 6320 1000, website: www.delfino.com.ar

Firstly, visit the Delfino Office at San Martin 439 in Buenos Aires. It is walking distance from the Retiro train station.

Take with you the length, width and height of the bike in centimeters as well as an estimate of the weight in kilograms (include luggage if you are shipping it with the bike). The weight will be calculated on volume and weighed at the airport. The higher of the two is what you are charged.

Delfino will inform you of the next available flight.

An estimate will be calculated. Go through the fees carefully and get them to explain each one so you have a good understanding.

Delfino are obliged to recommend you use a Customs Broker (Trammite), if you feel confident dealing with customs you may wish to decline this option. Also, it will be recommended that you photocopy your entire passport (each page and covers), motorcycle documentation, temporary import papers etc and have them signed by a Notary (similar to a Justice of the Peace), supplied by them or chosen by you.

Secondly, book your flight and give Delfino a photocopy of your airline ticket. Word of warning: To enter South Africa you, will need to prove to Immigration that you have an onward or return ticket, even though you are motorcycling trans-Africa.

Thirdly, two days before your flight, take the bike to the airport. Follow the signs to Carga and then to Exportacion. Park outside the main barrier and visit the Delfino office where you will be guided with the bike to the weigh station. You need to get a 'ticket Agent del Ingresso', ask your guide for this, before you can visit customs and exit the bike from Argentina. Once the bike is cleared by customs, a check on the motor number will be made, it will then be secured on a palette and finally wrapped in plastic and cling film. You are allowed to stay in the warehouse until this is completed.

Tied down nice and tight

Movement at the warehouse

Fourthly, return to the city office of Delfino for final instructions, calculations, payment of account.

Finally, the day the bike flies you will need to visit the Lufthansa/Malaysia Airlines office at the Terminal de Carga to sign the final copies of the Dangerous Goods Certificate and ask for a copy of the Airways bill.


Posted by Julie Rose at 08:00 PM GMT

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