I have been back from South America for almost three and a half months now. Looking back on the 1000+ photos I have in my photo albums on Picasa I can say that the trip was extremely successful. I wouldn’t wanted to have missed a single day. Certain parts I would like to see again one day and also the parts I have missed.
I’ve made an album with my most memorable photos in HDR. Colours and sharpness as it were in real life seen through your own eyes. Compensating for the light in dark areas. The album is in my Picasa/Google+ files here.
The Photos above in this post are a few selected from the Picasa/Google+ link.
This will be my last post for my South American travels I suppose. Enjoy.
My container with my car is finally underway to Curaçao. The ship that initially had to transport my container was sold and did not leave the harbor of Colon, Panama so it took at least a week extra.
The other ship; the Auriga J. then finally picked up my container and set sail to Cartagena and from there is now at last on its way to Curaçao. ETA is 1200 UTC so tomorrow night local time. This afternoon I am going to check with Don Andres shipping company if they can transport my container before the weekend to Bonaire… otherwise it will be next week but the Cool/food containers have priority. But I think for sure i will see my car on Bonaire next week.
This morning I concluded with the very professional shipping agency; Enlace Caribe, the shipment of my car, back to Bonaire.
Señor Luis Ernesto la Rota and his partner Sonia had the process down to a very effective one week loading time. At 7:30 a.m. I arrived at his office in Manga and soon there were three other Argentinian travelers with an old timer Ford, a VW camper bus, and a BMW off road bike with whom I drove in convoy behind Sonia to Contecar car and container port to have our cars loaded in containers. Me in a 20ft. container back to Curacao from where the car goes back to Bonaire. and the three others had one 40ft. container to Panama.
At 11:00 o’clock I could lock the container after the customs and police officials had put their special container pin locks installed. Later in the afternoon I bought my ticket to Medellin in the Avianca office. So tomorrow at 10:30 I will fly back to Medellin, from where I will fly back to Curacao.
A beautiful and memorable 9 month travel comes at an end.
So today I made it back at Cartagena at about 11:30 or so in the morning… Traffic was light and I recognized the road coming in.
Yesterday I left a busy Medellin with a couple of mistakes and deviations but not to bad… Soon I was back on the winding mountain road going North and saw the hotel parking where I slept on my way down…. More about driving in the Colombian mountains or actually all South America with all its dangers and funny situations in a separate post. Finally out of the mountains the road widened and got a bit better again.
About 330 km south of Cartagena I found a nice place to stay for the night. I first thought it was some kind of hostel but it was a home for old retired people that could stay from Monday till friday , owned by the government of Colombia… It looked really nice and being on a Saturday the place was empty for except the couple / caretakers and they let me stay for free and even invited me for dinner… That was for me a reason to leave a nice contribution anyway…
Then at 7:00 the next morning I thanked them kindly and went on my way to Cartagena and here I am…
So I made it back to Cartagena in one piece… The circle is done…
Now find a shipping company to get my car shipped back and see if I can get it done faster and cheaper then last time. Very hot and humid here so that’s a thing to get used to again… Traffic into Cartagena was very quiet and I recognized the roads and turn offs so no problem there either… I am really kind of happy now that I have a new purpose to this end of the journey… Whatever the future may bring, it will be something of a new adventure maybe…
Yesterday I left Salento and drove the beautiful later less, but very windy road to Medellin. Lots of police controls, more then last year and every time checking my papers… But they were in order.
Medellin was a little bit busy but not to bad. What was bad, was that my navigation finds it necessary to go on the blink in the city every time, and then I don’t know where I am or where I have to go to… And stopping aside the road is not always an option… Police on the motor cycle needed to see my papers so I had a reason to stop, and they felt kind of sorry for me, but I got the software working again.
Later I found the hostel but it didn’t have a parking space. The “Hola” hostel around the corner, not on my map, did have a garage so I went there….
In Salento I had a dutch/Iranian couple interested in the car, but I don’t think they are serious. They were supposed to let me know something, but it is okay. Another German guy was also asking a lot of good questions but no more… I guess I am just going to take my car back, which I don’t really mind. Later today is Medellin city exploring day…
update; June 4th
So today I took the metro into city centre, but it was a big disappointment. Just like Bogota, extremely busy, noisy and dirty… not much fun. The hostel itself is in a much nicer area called Poblada with nice little boutiques and little restaurants and bars. So I wont go back into the town centre and just stick it out until Saturday in Poblada area.
update; June 6th
Tough luck once again… Got the flue once again… Long time that I had it. Did get to go to an excellent dentist and had a throurough clean up and what needs to be done in the near future… Wish I had the money for it to get it done right here and now. The rest of my time was spend at the hostel and taking a lot of flue medication, sleeping, reading and resting.
Nevertheless I will continue my travel north to Cartagena tomorrow. Right now it rains pretty hard but I hope it clears up tomorrow.
Two days ago I left a nice sunny Quito and with me I took this really nice american guy who has been hitchhiking all around South America. I told him that he had to cross the border on his own account and had to sleep in his own tent if he wanted to continue up the road with me but that was no problem.
We had a small deviation in the countryside but that was no problem and went through some real small villages on the way to the border.
At the border we separated for each of us crossing the border on our own… I got a scare there because the customs initially didn’t want to enter my car in the system because I had no ‘official’ Bonairian documentation of the ownership and the dutch paper had a different license plate on it. I told him that it was no problem the first time I entered Colombia last year in Cartagena. And I couldn’t have made the Bonairian license plates myself and the Vin number is exactly the same… Eventually he did enter me in the system. Then I could drive on and get my three month SOAT insurance and pick up Joe again… We made it to the first stop, the same one I used on the way down in October last year.
The next morning we had a very bad diversion through a rather busy and confusing town. We both wanted find a supermarket and ATM, but all we could find was a small supermarket. The navigation on my tablet decided to go beserk in mid town as well so the experience gotten worse… But finally out of town we could continue our trip. Later that day we did find an ATM and we plundered our bank accounts and decided to pig out at a small roadside restaurant. At about five o’clock we found another Emergency service station and stopped for the night. This one even had a, albeit cold shower, but was load unfortunately.
This morning I dropped Joe at the junction to go to Cali and I continued on towards Medellin and decided to go to this Eco lodge “La Serena” which I thought was owned by the family of the owner of the small restaurant I frequently visited in Cartagena last year. I am not so sure now but it doesn’t matter… I can sleep in my car and have a coffee plantation tour and do some magnificent horse ridding here in the hills at the coffee plantation and the jungle…
More later on…
The horse riding was 4 hours and the saddle was pretty hard but worse of all: the horse just didn’t enjoy the trip and whatever I did, it just didn’t want to go. First all the way down to the river where after about an hour and half we came to a small waterfall. Lots of teenagers where having fun in the cold water… The path was very muddy because of all the rain and we had to cross the river about three times too… Then back which didn’t go well either because a good portion of a road had collapsed so we had to backtrack again for half an hour…
Finally back in the village the guide forgot I had a coffee tour as well, but I was to tire and sore anyway… So no coffee plantaion. I heard later that it was boring anyway…
Latitude 0° 0′ 0″ right on the equator…. Longitude 78° 27′ 8″
Lousy rainy weather and a terrible double bus trip… A real tourist trap, but I just had to make a photo standing on the equator. Although I have crossed it many times in my live…. So done that, seen it and made the bloody photo.
It was raining last night so badly and since I didn’t want to sleep in the dormitory, I just slept comfortably in my own bed. Saved me money too, because that was cheaper again. This morning the weather was still very much overcast so I decided to drive the 200 km to Quito to find the garage. Over there we checked to see if I needed to exchange the distribution belt, because I was worried that it was needed, but the Ford computer system said it not needed until 250.000 km. Since I am still at 86.000 km I can still keep the current belt. Thank you don’t Pedro Villota of Car Circuit for your kind help and service.
In Quito I found a nice hostel, though they don’t have space tonight, I just keep my car parked in front and sleep in my car. Tommorow I sleep in the hostel. And stay for a couple of days in Quito to explore the city…
Traffic wasn’t to bad and it was not to far from the main road.
The real fun part of Ecuador is its diesel price… $1.10 or there about…. For a gallon, that is !!!! So I can fill up my tank for less than $20.– The roads are not as good as in Peru though and since Ecuador is not that big, then again the roads in the mountains very windy and going up and down, you still don’t use as much diesel as the long stretches I was going in Peru, Chile or Argentina.
Other stuff is not quite as cheap as Peru, so you will still spend your money.
This morning I left Cuenca at a pleasure time and traffic was very easy on the nerves… Although it was a Monday morning. After about almost four hours driving I came to Banos which I wanted to check out before I go to Quito… But to tell you the truth, personally, I am a bit dissapointed. It a more trekking ng and mountain biking the volcano kind off place and since I am not quite the fit youngster any more, this place is not so for me…
I’ll might see some nice views tomorrow and then continue north to Quito where I want to have my car checked for a couple of minor things that I want to get done…
Yesterday morning I first went to another insurance office but was told to drive to another office, where I was told I couldn’t get the insurance. That was number three already.
Then I saw a sign for another company so I went there… Mrs. Sonia Granda Bravo told me I had to go to the city center to pay for it and get the final paper, but she at least processed all the paper work and called the guy in the bank to make sure I was going to get it this time. So I left my car at the small office building and took a taxi into town and although the guy was out of the office and I had to wait at least half an hour for him to come back, then pay at the counter, where they couldn’t enter my passport number in the computer, then back to the guy where he had computer problems again… In total it cost me 4 hours to get a dumb piece of paper of $12,10.
Still, thank you immensely Mrs. Bravo you saved my day, week and month!
Two hours later I drove into a busy Cuenca and found myself a parking lot to park my car and a nice hostel smack in town center. I will explore Cuenca for a couple of days and then Saturday continue to Quito.
Another dirty cop to top off another lousy day.
Just got over the border, and wanted to be on my way to Cuenca in Ecuador but almost everything went wrong that could go wrong. Immigration for both Peru out and Ecuador in, went reasonably smooth although it took time. Then customs to get Peru out was also pretty smooth, but at the post for customs getting the car into Ecuador was drama. Apparently the rain caused a short in the internet connection and server… They tried to blow dry the thing on the dusty parking lot and after 3 And a half hours waiting they told me to go back to the border where I could the car registered at the place for trucks… Smarty pants couldn’t have figured that a couple of hours earlier????
Then returning I was stopped at a transit police roadblock and of course I didn’t have the Ecuadorian liability insurance papers. That I couldn’t buy it at the border and needed to go to the next city, this fuckface couldn’t care less and with a false grin on his face he made it clear I had to pay the ticket or him, with emphasis on paying him a bribe…
I didn’t have dollars – the currency in Ecuador and the ‘gentlemen’ didn’t want Peruvian Soles… So fuck him – I didn’t wanted to pay him except kick him in the face or trying out my pepper spray to wipe out the grin forever… I wasn’t smiling when I told him that I thought he was “difficult” to tourists and didn’t like the situation one bit. He still threatened with his big ticket book, which was fairly unused, but when I took out my camera and asked his name which was hidden from view by a flack jacket (you get a lot of death threads, mister????) The party was quickly over and with a grin on his face he walked away and I drove away giving him the finger behind his back.
Mother fucker… I hope you suffer before you grow old.
Now I am in a big shopping mall trying to get the insurance but of course at two places they couldn’t sell it to me because of a computer glitch… Damn….
In the Mall, I first couldn’t even get some dollars out of the ATM machines, but was finally able to. Had some dinner at the food court and tried to find the hostel I stayed 8 months ago, but couldn’t so ended up in another hostel.
Pretty uneventful day driving almost 500 km north. Recognizing many places from about 8 months ago and shopping at the same supermarket for some groceries.
Now for the record staying at a small hostel for two days to rest and recuperate in Mancore. A funny surf coastal beach town full of surfers. I think I will cross the border on Tuesday to Ecuador to go to Cuenca.
Lima, was as expected worth another heart attack on crazy traffic. It took me more then 2 hours to converse from south to north over the main highway… Busses and taxis cutting just centimeters across your front, or just breaking to pick up more customers… About 50 km. before Lima I was stopped by a regular police traffic control and of course I forgot that my SOAT the local mandatory insurance was expired. He let me off the hook after I explained that I had trouble with my spare parts in Cusco and I showed him the insurance from Argentina (with the four or five other countries)… and I promised him to buy it at the first opportunity… I didn’t want to go to Lima center for it though, but i was lucky to find an office north of Lima at a petrol station. The big breasted girl made a mistake though… although I paid for a month she wrote it out for a full year… Not that I am going to stay for a year.
At about 16:00 hrs I found a camping and parked my car – nice place but a lot of flies… The next morning I had to cut across Chimbote and Trujillo… the last one was pretty bad again because the road which I was going through according my navigation was closed and I finally drove all the way through the center… “route recalculated” was the phrase I heard most of the time from my tablet… But I got out of there unscathed…
At about 16:30 I found a nice hostel not to expensive near a place where I wanted to overnight anyway… San Pedro de Lloc. Tomorrow I will continue up north… since there is not much to see except dessert and a / or a lot of sugar cane…
I took a slow start to leave Cusco on wednesday, 14th of may. After a mountainous route to Abancay, the route planner was set for a route to Andahuaylas given to me by a German mountain guide from Garmisch. He told me that the road was just new asphalt… Saw a huge Tarantula walking across the road. Couldn’t believe my eyes… On the way I stopped at a roadside restaurant for a fresh trout with rice, some green lettuce and fried potatoes and cool soft drink for less than four dollars. No cooking tonight.
To bad that when I came to the top, I found out they were still working on it and the new connection was closed. So I had to take a back road to Andahuaylas… A dirt road 99% single lane through very small mountain villages, who probably never seen much tourist traffic and certainly not a crazy Antilles/Dutch guy trying to get his car up and down the mountain range… If you try to fin it on Google Maps, forget it… it isn’t photographed that close yet and the road can’t be found… Even my navigation was wrong or didn’t show the road at all.
At about six, I called it quits because I surely wasn’t going to drive that road in the dark. I found a small spot and went to bed…’
In the morning I heard people going past. Yes most people here are still walking all the way, up and down, and up again, wherever they have to go… young and old. Hooray for coca, I guess… So off I went in my perfect starting car… oncoming traffic and small trucks were a hazard which took me close to the abyss edge… OMG!
When my navigation wanted to discontinue the better road up, I asked a local woman who was chasing her two pigs along the road… “Si, si, Andahuaylas… derecho” waving her arms up the dirt road… So bugger my navigation, let’s stick to the better road. Up and the on top, down again… and ahh, there was my navigational connection again. Bit off, but I knew I was in the right direction. According to the ting I had to turn right, but again, I opted to ask the locals, who told me again… Straight. The navigation would have directed me to Lake Pacucha, but I ended up missing that and be wondered… on top of the hill I hit asphalt… beautiful black and smooth asphalt, straight into Andahuaylas…
Filled up my tank, bought some bread and was on my way again… to tackle the next 4000 meters high mountain range… and yes, down again… following the route 3S to Ayacucho and then the 24A towards the ocean and Pisco… On the way I passed a trout farm and a couple of roadside restaurants with of course fresh trout on the menu. This time it was about three dollars to fill my stomach.
It was very dark when I parked next to a traffic police car and asked them for the best place for a hostel. Well if I were going to Lima, they advised me to turn north and find a place in Chincha Alta. I needed the hot shower…
More photos in the Google photo album “Peru”.
I am a happy person again…
Not thanks DHL who kept me waiting for my spare parts for over a week… But I have my new glow plugs and I had them installed in no time…
Now the car starts immediately again and runs like new…
Tomorrow I will continue my trip through Peru northwards to Ecuador.
In total I spend over 3 weeks in Cusco. First because of the mechanic that did not get the parts and left for Chile without telling me – he might have been able to get the parts there… Then I got the wrong parts from overseas, by my own mistake, and finally I got the original Ford glow plugs from Holland.