Thursday, 19 July 2007

 

Leaving Argentina takes about5 minutes and after a short ride through no man's land I arrive at the Brasilian borderpost. To my big surprise nobody is there!Used to African border crossings and lengthy controls I have absolutely no clue whatís going on.

All the other cars just drive through without even reducing their speed.

As I stop in front of a building that looks like it could be the immigration, the only police man there waves me through.

Thatís doesnít go! Without a stamp in the passport Iím illegal in the country and may not leave again.

Iget off my bike and enter the building. After a little conversation the policeman is convinced that Iím a foreigner and they give me an entry stamp.

Upon insisting I also get my bike import papers and may finally enter Brasil.

The country of Carneval, Samba and naturally the most beautifulÖ. rain forests of the world!

 

 

 

Friday, 20 July 2007

 

Today I do some shopping in the town of Foz do Iguazu. In Brazil most medications donít require prescriptions and are relatively inexpensive as well. I drive to the local pharmacy and complete my stuff.

 

 

 

Saturday, 21 July 2007  

 

 

 

 

 

The Brazilian highways surprise me with sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Here, in the south it looks a bit like at home. The landscape is slightly hilly and the air has got the smell of fresh grass and flowers. The province of Mato Grosso do Sul is one of the agricultural centers of Brazil and the corn fields stretch to what seems beyond the horizon.

 

As the sun goes down I look for accommodation and make a funny experience.A sign at the roadside says motel. As I swing in joyfully, I sort of recognize that the place is a brothel and, such places are usually reffered to as motels allover Brasil!

Now I also understandwhy these numerous places have such funny names as Ąuniversity of the night ďor Ąhouse of recreation ď.

As I decide to continue my journey and look for another place for the night, the ladies seem to be quite disappointed!

 

 

Sunday, 22 July 2007

 

Today I ride northbound over the BR 163. This route represents one of the countryís main truck routes and most of the time I spend overhauling heavy traffic.

 

Monday, 23 July - Tuesday 24 July 2007

 

I spend a few days at the beautiful waterfalls of Rio Verde.

 

 

In the morning I go for a run and in the afternoon I take the bike to explore the surrounding country side.

 

 

By coincidence, I meet a german-speaking Brazilian whoís grandfather immigrated from Austria. He is already 75 and he travelled through approximately 80 countries of the world. As I tell him that I ride my motorcycle around the world he invites me to the a congregation of the local Rotary Club, which he founded in his hometown a few decades ago.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

 

After the relaxed days in Rio Verde I continue my journey to Cuiba. The town of Cuiba is located close to the Pantanal, the largest swamp of the world, approximately three times larger than Germany!

650 different species of birds and 80 different kinds of mammals live in that area. The most prominent inhabitant, the alligator, population estimated to be around 25 million!  

 

 

 

Thursday, 26 July 2007

 

Today I will try to explore the swamp with the bike. The only road that goes into this swamp is the Transpantaneira and it leads over more than 130 timber bridges with some of them in poor condition!

 

 

At this bridge I nearly make a deadly mistake. After I checked the construction for its stability and put some boards from the sides to the center I try to pass. Normally no problem, however as I drive over the left side of the bridge one of the two parallely running boards starts to wobble. As I put my foot down for more stability I step into one of the many gaps! My center of gravity must still be in the middle so I manage to stay on the boards and with opening the throttle, I make it safely to the other side.

 

 

That was tight. And going into the water is not exactly what you want to do in the Pantanal.

 

 

The swamp is actually full of alligators and some of them surely appear to be hungry!

 

 

 

Friday, 27 July 2007

 

Today I ride back to the main road and meet a baby croc. As I stop in front of it to take a picture it looks at me and then backs off into the water.

 

 

Later in the day, I meet a Brazilian cowboy who drives his cattle over the road right in front of me.

 

In the evening I leave the lowlands of the Pantanal behind me and the landscape becomes more tropical.

 

 

Saturday, 28 July 2007

 

 

In the morning it is pleasantly cool and I go for a run along the highway. Local drivers stop and offer me something to drink. Really, Brasil is full of friendly people and travelling here is great!

 

 

The evening I spend in the small town of Pimenta Bueno and stay overnight in a cosy hotel.

Now it is not far to Porto Velho anymore, the gate to the Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 29 July 2007

 

In Porto Velho I drive straight to the port to find out when there is a boat to Manaus. Theoretically there is also a road connection but that has not been maintained for many years and some of the bridges are missing.

At the port Iím told that my ship already leaves tomorrow and will take presumably three to four days for the sailing.

That sounds like an adventure!

 

Back in the days Porto Velho was an important commercial port for rubber but nowdays, it is mostly run down. Huge slum areas spread along the banks of the Rio Madeira and through its location close to the borders of Peru and Bolivia, Porto Velho has an infamous reputation for beeing the regions center of drug trade.

Brazil, being a relatively rich country, unfortunately represents a very profitable market for the drug business!

 

 

Tuesday, 30 July 2007

 

In the morning I drive to the port to buy a ticket for the cruise.

 

 

Everything goes smoothly and after half an hour my bike is already loaded on to the ship.

During the next hours the vessel gets packed with tomatoes and onions. The heavy bags are carried down steep stairs and placed in the storeroom of the ship. In Amazonia transport on the river represents the best and often the only possible way to ship goods all over the region.

 

 

Life on the ship is naturally a joint experience. Most people hang up their hammocks wherever there is space and children run around between huge piles of luggage.

 

 

I rent a small cabin for the trip. That way, I will hopefully leave the boat with all my stuff and be able to catch a few moments of silence.

 

 

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

 

It is a fascinating experience to travel over Amazonian waterways.

Huge cargo vessels are heading up the stream so slowly that you could walk besides them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 2 August 2007

 

Life on board finds its own rhythm soon. Lunch starts at 11 o'clock and then is Siesta until three. The best thing to do is sit down in the shade with a glass of Ice Tea and watch the rain forest on the river banks. It in this enormous water world you never seem to be alone though. Travelling house boats connect the river dwellers and often are the only way of communication for them.

 

Unforgettable of course are the sunsets in Amazonia. A fire-red ball descends into the rain forest and the long tropical night begins.

 

 

 

Friday, 3 August 2007

 

Wherever the river forms small islands, people build their homes. When we pass the river banks close enough, children run out of the houses and cheerfully celebrate our passage.

 

 

Away from the modern cities amazonian Brazil shows a different face to the traveller. As soon as the sun goes down fishermen start fires on the river banks and cook their meals.

 

 

 

Friday, 4 August 2007

 

In the morning we reach Manaus and I can unload my motorcycle off the ship.

In the 19th century Manaus was a powerful colonial city and was known as the Paris of the Tropics. Certainly, the prosperity was based on the rubber trade and with the end of the rubber boom in 1914 things started to deteriorate.

Today, Manaus is a modern city with more than 2 million inhabitants and represents an international sea port of Brazil. Enormous ocean vessels come 1500 kilometers up the Amazon to unload their cargo.

 

 

 

Sunday, 5 August 2007

 

By coincidence I meet two bikers from Canada. Chris and Lori travel on their bikes all the way up to Canada. As we are on the same way, we decide to ride together.

 

The main road leads from the Amazon up to the Venezuelan border and we ride through beautiful tropical landscapes.

 

 

In the afternoon the temperature climbs up to 43 degrees and probably caused by the heat, Chris rear tire says good-bye with a loud bang. As I see the enormous hole in the tube I am really glad that my BMW has got tubeless rims.

 

In the evening we reach the reserve of the Waimiri Indians. After 6 o'clock it is forbidden to ride through so we camp at an old gas station.

 

 

Monday, 6 August 2007

 

 

 

Today we cross the Indian reserve. The ecological system here still is unaffected and the construction of the road fortunately did not bring the usual destruction of the rainforest. Originally the enormous forests almost covered the entire land of Brazil, by the construction of the road system and the following agricultural development vast forest areas were turned into farm land and a majority of this irrepairable biosphere is already gone.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

 

Today we pass by a strange looking road sign in the middle of the Brazilian rain forest. I cross the Equator for the second time of my journey and Iím back in the northern hemisphere.

 

 

In the evening we reach the small town of Boa Vista and it starts to rain. For a funny ending of the day I manage to get stuck in the mud rather impressively. Only the determined help of local forces gets me going again and Chris takes this unforgettable picture of the round the world bike beeing stuck at the parking lot.

 

 

 

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

 

Today we need to go to the consulate of Venezuela. Venezuela is the only country inSouth America that requires a so-called tourist card and this form must be obtained before the border crossing.  

As we arrive at the embassy all the doors are closed and nobody seems to be there. Suddenly a little boy appears in the garden and obviously takes over the diplomatic affairs. I find myself standing in front of a closed gate negotiating my Venezuelan visa with a little boy. These things make travelling the adventure it is!

 

In the end we get our visa only a few hours later and are free to drive to the border.

As we arrive there in the late afternoon the formalties are straight forward. Minutes later we find ourselves in Venezuela and spend the night in the small but pleasant bordertown on Santa Elena.

Me gusta Venezuela, and from here it stands only 900 kilometers to the Caribbean coast!††††