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.
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.
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.
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
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