January 14, 2004 GMT
Colombia 1

"Isn't that Osama bin Laden over there?" A perfectly executed diversion tactic. It works a treat. That, and switching the passports for immigration. They examine the ticket and the passport separately. And there is no record of my nationality on the ticket. Easy really. I am sneaking my way into Colombia. Some might say that was unwise Simey boy. But what a rebel.

Retrieve my bike from the warehouse. The sweat I exuded on the road to the Panama Airport has been brewing quietly for three weeks. The jacket and helmet are covered in thick mould when I open the box. This discovery is made too late in the day. Dusk is decending. It is time to go. Everyone is looking. The bike's running. I swallow and stick them on. Yuk. I really am disgusting.


Bogota could be any town in southern Europe, just don't go out at night. I stay at the backpackers and hook up with the gap year boys. They get drunk every evening and spend the rest of the time planning ways to get coke. It occupies them for hours. They revel in the rituals. There are hand shakes, earnest nods and fists-met all over. Hard boy is Sebastian. There might be something almost endearing in their earnest rites of pseudo-adulthood. Or maybe not.

Every Colombian I talk to either tells me to be very very careful or not to travel at all. Too late now.

Fifth pull of the day. The carretera police. Of course they are going to: politely, more out of inquisitiveness than anything. These ones are very keen for the "seguro obligatoria". I hand over as many sheets as I can find, blunderbus approach. There're some pizza fliers in there somewhere. The boss looks at the paperwork with all the horror I had hoped for. He returns it fussily and goes through my boxes. He repeats "seguro obligatoria, seguro obligatoria". He is absent-mindedly turning my Collins mini Espanol-Ingles dictionary over in his hand . I smile more broadly at each request. This dumb tourist routine really is pathetic. I should have got the insurance back in Bogota. But it was too cold. I was too lazy. Too arrogant. I dunno.

They look at each other. They don't know what to do. Knife edge time. The dictionary is functioning as worry beads. It turns over and over. Don't read the title officer. It will help you way too much. Is the centime going to drop? He is agitated. He feels that I have taken away his role in life, his power. Imagine authority without language. Difficult isn't it? What to do?

As long as it doesn't occur to him that this is deliberate I will be okay; no one would be that duplicitous, especially not this pleasant adventurer. I am callously exploiting his generous worldview. He takes on a pleading tone, which must hurt a lot, "Seguro obligatoria, senor". Nope, definitely don't get it my friend. This is my moment, when they are completely at a loss. Before they find an English speaker. I start to pack up, avoiding eye contact. They can't say different. He replaces the book gently. I will pack it deeper tonight. They are non-plussed. I am away, but I can't do this pantomime too many times. It's all a bit demeaning.

Posted by at January 14, 2004 05:04 PM GMT

HI SIMON! Below our discussion in the Transalp.org's privatemessage -system:

(Hope this helps if you need a new engine)

From: Simon Kennedy
To: Ron
Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:50 pm
Subject: From Simon Kennedy

Hows the spares situation in BA? I have half a mind to put in a new engine. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with the present one.

Today I received good news about my visa, so I am off to Bogota tomorrow. Yippeee,


From: Ron
To: Simon Kennedy
Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 12:31 am
Subject: Re: From Simon Kennedy
Hi Simon!

I'm very new to TA's and have bought just one sparepart for it's mirrorholder. The "Motor Show" seems to be official "Honda Service Partner". The person there told they can deliver anything for my TA, thou I do not know about the new engines. I'll find out the telephone to call. The Motor Show is located just outside the BA Capital Federal. And for sure there are other places, too. TA's are quite popular here up to model 2001.

When are you planning to be in this city?

Good luck !


From: Ron
To: Simon Kennedy
Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 11:56 am
Subject: Re: From Simon Kennedy
Hi Simon! Finally I have the telephone for the Moto Show. Sorry the delay but I was in Brazil and Paraguay for some time.

Matias in Moto Show speaks some english, if needed. To call from abroad: add the country code like this: 54-11-4798-9192. More details and service places in Argentina:


I hope this helps

regards r.o.n.


Dirección: AV. LIBERTADOR 13044
Localidad, Provincia: Martinez, Buenos Aires
CP: 1640
Tel: (011) 4798-9192
Fax: (011) 4793-2363
Email: motoshow@navigo.com.ar

Posted by: ron on February 9, 2004 02:37 PM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.

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