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Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a fun ride

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Buenos Aires

 Parrilla. Synonymous with heaven in my book.
These roadside ones are awesome. 
Just look at all that meat grilling. 
They bring a whole metal platter of mysterious meats
with coals on the bottom to keep it sizzling.
And just when you can't possibly stuff another delicious piece in your mouth.
They bring a whole other platter.

My nemesis. The little red car.
I have been plagued by little red cars. 
Finally got a photo of one.
This one parked strategically close enough to make taking off with side bags 
on the bike mildly interesting. 
There was plenty of room to park elsewhere.
But NO. Little red car + S.A.N. = havoc

After a breezy border crossing in Uruguay we ended up going back out to the river 
(waterflow from Iguazu) to a small town. 
The tricked out, "bad-ass" looking guy 2nd from the right is Nicholas. 
He ended up riding us to this "beach side" area
 where they had camping, cabanas and plenty of sand. 

His bike was awesome.
I showed him my safety bell because I noticed he had one too.

According to Doug, he rode all the way to Venezuela and back on this bike. 
He also impressed Doug nearly speechless with his neat trick of opening beer bottles 
with his wedding ring.

As the guys tried to find their accommodations, 
I pitched my tent and had a hot shower. 

That's it. The Peets coffee has come to an end.
 The 1/2 lb lasted me the whole trip.
Some local cheese and salami and voila, snack. 

Here is the aforementioned beach.
Calm waves lapping the edge.
Pic-Nic tables.

Went to the only restaurant in town open.
It's end of vacation season so everything was closed.
Didn't know what "Entrecot" was but figured it was good 
since it was the most expensive thing on the menu. 
Turns out it was steak.
And not just ANY steak. 
Perfectly cooked medium rare steak!

Uruguay homes have thatched roofs.
Super cute. Makes me think of an island home.

Hot water heaters are wood/coal fired.

We had an invitation to stay with some Expats in Uruguay.
Meet Denise and check out their view.
From the Pacific Ocean (Ancud and Penguins) 
to the Atlantic (Uruguay) in 45 days!
10,000 km

Delicious pizza.
Homemade crust!
Crunchy, the way it should be.
Not that paper thin, tasteless, overpriced crap you get in San Francisco.
No sir!

Wally loves to cook.
Here he is making the pizza dough.

The next morning he made bread and amazing omelettes and cooked panchetta!

Then he made bread!

What a view. 
I just had to pitch my tent and sleep on the deck 
to the sound of crashing waves and rain!

There are no actual addresses, instead they name their homes.
This means 'tranquil'. 

So I took a shot at the beginning of the trip.
And here we are at the end.
Washed the Tiger the day before out of customs cleaning fee paranoia. 
Sad for it to come to an end.
I could go another month.

The boys, well they have 'horse stable anxiety'
and they were ready to go.

Wally and Denise were amazing hosts.

Off to Montevideo.
Waiting for the ferry to unload.
Hate ferries. 
Sometimes you load first, 
sometimes last.
You never know but bikes get screwed.
You have to be the first ones there and just wait.

Bikes first!

Then on to Dakar Motos and starting the air freight process home.

Meet Sandra and Javier.
They patiently answered my 2 dozen or so emails about the process.

Then on to my airbnb place in Recoleta.

Gorgeous French building.
Motos park on the sidewalk.
My 800 sure looks big compared to the dinky bikes people ride around here.
While I was unloading my gear, a man stopped to say he had the same bike.
And we discussed's always about the tires.
As Doug says, you are only as confident as your tires. 

The next day, off to the airport.

Strapping the bike down on a pallet.
260 kilos. 

It was a very smooth process start to end.

They took the two bike pallets away to re-weight I think then came back with our bikes neatly compressed into 3 foot by 2 foot boxes. 

Just kidding of course. 
Final step, shrink wrap.
Oh, don't forget the "this side up stickers".
No kidding.
This side up. Sheesh.

Then on to an institution for a leisurely, gluttonous meal.
La Rey. Famous pizza place. Founded in the 1950's.
Loud. Packed and fun.

Oh and the pizza was amazing.
I remember being here in 2006.
They are famous for half and half.
The other side was a spinach filled pizza with globs of bechamel sauce on top.
Heart stopping.

View of the inner courtyard at my airbnb.

Finally found a salon where I got the manicure, pedicure and my hair done.
I didn't want to ever leave.
She actually used a dremmel on my feet.
And a tiny scalpel. 
It was heaven.

The photo is intentionally blurry. 

Then this lovely lady who owns the house I am staying in, made something I would trade 
my first born for....a vegetable torte.

2 inches thick of veggies.
No potatoes, actual vegetables. 

These are the other rooms in the house.

Honor bar along the back wall.

Elegant staircase. 

Cool old elevator with double sliding metal doors. 
Don't leave one open or the elevator won't work.

Just love these dog walkers.
In 2006 when I was here last, they didn't pick up the poop.
Little land mines everywhere. 
Now they do.
Whew! ....and it smells better on warm days. 

So the current pope used to live here. 

And this place, well this palace was sold 8 years ago to Hyatt.
It was the home of a wealthy Argentine family.
Turns out my landlady knew the family 
and brought her daughter to learn music from one of them.

Beautiful carved wooden doors. 

But the lobby is modern, ultra chic. 

This is the scotch, cigar room.

And the gardens. 

I was actually considering staying here a night.
Even for $700 but then I visited the room. 
It was rather disappointing.
Nothing old or antique about it. 
Just usual glass, metal and cold tile.

Next it's time for my favorite drink.
When I was here last, I tried the Lemon-Champ at 
Il Gran Caffe

See the giant globule of lemon sorbet in the glass?
And meet Martin.
He pronounces it Martine but that doesn't seem like the right spelling.
He told me a harrowing story about almost being motorcycle-jacked.
Made me glad I opted to be armed during my riding.

Buenos Aires had a transportation strike planned 
March 31.
Unfortunatly the boys didn't know and were in twilight hell for almost a full day trying to leave.

What did I do?
Well I laid in the park drinking champagne.
These boys smoked very stinky pot. 

Then took a walk along the Peurto Madero waterfront.
If you notice the buildings in the background are made to look like cruise ships.

Plenty of money in Buenos Aires
(all the missing vegetables in the country are here too)
And of course, there is poverty, not 100 feet away.

Well it was time for meat again.
La Bistecca is known to be the best Sunday Brunch.
So much so that even arriving at noon, we could not get in until 3.

Chocolate fountain.

Cold cuts and cheese.

All kinds of cold pasta and potato salads. 

And the griller. 

I just kept going back and pointing and something new and saying "other".

They even made fresh pasta like an omelette bar. 

I had 6 plates of food in all. 
Took my time to eat. 

Only 1 more day in Colonia in Uruguay.
I take the ferry at noon today.
I just got confirmation that my Tiger is in Texas waiting for the final flight home.
Tomorrow I'll be on the plane....