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Day 424 – 5th February 2010

Posted by TravellingStrom on February 5, 2010

Friday – DakarMotos, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The main game this morning was to get the bike washed, and to get down there before the rain started and before they closed the car wash. As soon as it rains, these guys go home, so I kitted up and took off, the wait was about an hour so I sat around with a bottle of coke while the job was done, and these guys are pros 🙂

So, I now have a clean bike and an urge to test the fuel system, well it works like new, what a relief and the best part was, with no luggage or anything much else on the bike, I was amazed at the power the bike had 🙂 It has been a long time since I rode without the extra weight, looking forward to more of it back home 🙂 Here are my hosts, from right to left, Javier, Sandra and Julio their youngest son outside the bike workshop and bunkhouse 🙂

The bike went inside under cover and not before time because soon the skies opened again and it came down in buckets including hail and the tide started to come in, the drainage in this yard is pitiful!

While the rain was doing its thing again, for the 4th day in a row, I was trying to sort out shipping stuff back to OZ. This was a nightmare and after the first online quote, when I got up off the floor I was about to give up and try and sell everything. The cost of a 20kg package was going to be $1200AUS, by crikey, I cannot afford this! But, Sandra came to the rescue, her part of the DakarMotos business is shipping bikes into and out of Argentina so she had ideas and contacts, so I sat with her while we tried for hours to work out a cheaper way. One of the cheapest ways was only about $180 by normal post, now that was better, but this would take 20 working days, there would not be enough time for it to arrive in Brisbane for me to use when I arrived on the 26th Feb! Things were looking bad, but Sandra had an idea and after some chat with her contacts, we found out that there is an express service by the normal post which would take about 8 days, now that was sounding good. But, we could not get any proper info on box size nor whether we needed fumigation for the clothes and other info, so I had time after the rain had stopped to get onto the train and get to the main post office to ask the people there, so that is what I did, the blue signs in the distance are the Correo, or post office!

So, after discussing things with the customs lady and the other counter staff it turns out I need to have a maximum box size of 600x400x300 and 20kg. Well, that was a bit small size wise, but the weight should be OK, but it was all they would accept and for the express service it would cost me $250, so I would need to ‘lose’ some stuff or sell it or give it away, no way could I afford to bring everything home 😦 This was a major blow and I needed to weigh up the cost of shipping as compared to buying new back home as I had way more stuff than would fit in that size box. In fact the first thing to go was the tent, I gave that to Javier. Just for comparison, when I shipped everything to the states last year, I had two normal removal boxes 4 times the size of the above at least weighing 40kg, and that cost me $800. It turns out that Qantas has a monopoly down here and as there is no competition they can and do charge what they feel like, arseholes!

The next issue I found that really pissed me off today was when I went online to do some banking, I found that my Mastercard was so low it was actually below its allowed limit, now this should not be, I have never and will never let it get this low, so what is happening 😕 I looked through the history and found that I had been hit twice by a company called Happy Hut in the US. They first hit me a few weeks back for around $1000 but reversed it soon after, that particular event was a shop in Pasadena. But, then just recently I got hit by the same company, but this time in Michigan for $1500, this has not been reversed. I immediately of course added some of my rapidly depleting funds to correct the below limit error and using Ken and Carols Skype called my bank back home.

They said that they would put in a complaint but they could not reverse the transactions. The complaint could take up to 6 weeks to fix, which meant I was going to run low on this card and I really did not know what to do. They offered to cancel my card but I could not really do that for a number of reasons.

One, if it gets cancelled, I have no credit card, which means I cannot get money out of it and the banks have closed until Monday, it is Friday night now, it will take 7 days before a new one could arrive, so I needed to conserve what cash I had on me!

Two, I cannot buy an air ticket to the US without it, cos I need cash or a credit card for online payment.

Three, if I have no cash in hand nor credit card, I cannot get my gear sent home so that it arrives before I do in Brisbane.

Four, I know for a fact now that it is absolutely useless sending anything to South America unless you have time to wait. While here at DakarMotos, I have heard so many horror stories of things arriving here in the country a few days after being sent BUT, then being held up in customs for weeks and weeks and weeks! This is from other travellers who are present now, like Ken and Sue and from Sandra and Javier!

So, that means I cannot cancel my credit card until I visit a bank and get some cash out which will cover the costs I expect to face over the next few weeks. Then, I need to have the card sent to the US, where ever I can afford to buy a ticket to. This will take some research over the weekend and so of course I resorted to beer and Vodka, there is no dark rum down here, or none in my local supermarket anyway. With all the rain around, it was good drinking weather and with my newly cleaned bike there was a new resting place for Negrita, or Blacky to have a sleep on 🙂

What can I say, today was a bit of a bummer all around, but maybe tomorrow would bring better news. I did not mention the bits that I had sent from the states to facilitate the bike sale down here. Well, it turns out they were sent priority mail, but with no tracking as far as I know, no fault of theirs, I did not think of it until after the fact either. I of course, now had no idea where these bits were, whether they were here in BA, but stuck in the customs queue, or not arrived or lost, so it will be a waiting game, not my favourite. Needless to say, the Vodka took a beating tonight, I hope the rest of the bunk crew wear ear plugs 🙂 🙂

Day –0 miles and km
Trip – 54,042 miles and 86,972 km



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11 Responses to “Day 424 – 5th February 2010”

  1. Bruce in WA said

    Hi Richard … probably too late for you now, but when we wanted to get some stuff sent overseas that was OK in weight but too bulky, I had a brainwave and went to a Red Dot store and bought a couple of el-cheapo vacuum storage bags. Put the stuff in, zippered it shut and let the vacuum cleaner go to town. Worked a treat.

  2. Gary said

    TS do you have any more info on Ken and Carol’s accident.

    • Yep, they are here with me now at DakarMotos. They are both physically OK, maybe a few twinges now and then. The bike needed repairs of course and that has delayed their travel, getting parts into the country and through customs. But, today the last parcel arrived and the bike should be up and running by this weekend, then it is just up to them when they move on. It is Carnival down here this week, so there are some things to see. 🙂

  3. Trevor said

    Hi Richard,

    Did you consider calling Happy Hut and asking them to reverse the charges? That might be the quickest if it’s just a simple accounting error…

    BTW, not sure what kind of a company Happy Hut are, but sounds like an establishment you might go to for some entertainment by some lovely ladies. Maybe you got drunk on your way through Nevada and just forgot that you chalked up a nice bill?

    • Hi Trevor, so what are you implying m8, do you know me that well eh 🙂

      Well, really, I did do a google and found out it is a hobby place for model airplanes and the like. But, my card got hit pretty hard over the weekend and I had another $4500 of outstanding charges which were not mine ready to come up on my statement. I immediately cancelled the card and now it is a waiting game, bastards! I do have an emergency card arriving Friday, so I may get to leave this country soon 🙂

      Cheers TravellingStrom

    • Dear,

      I’ve just read an article written by my friend, I think he’s doing very important job, check it out

      Warmest, TravellingStrom

  4. ziggy said

    Hi there you little biker-wit you..

    Haven’t been reading all of your posts, as I would never get anything else done, so I catch-up once in awhile, and was glad to see your adventure found it’s destination’s end, alright, and got you there safely.

    Happy-Hut eh..? LOL Next time I go through Nevada, I’ll have to go in and see how they liked my little pal from down-under. LOL

    On a serious note, I hope you get all that jazz figured out, and get your fanny back home in one piece. Put some early Neil Young, on the phones and mellow down easy my friend.

    Take it easy, be safe, and keep on truckin’ or in your case, bikin’.

  5. ziggy said

    Hey, that sounds good, I am sure he will be glad to finally get a chance to meet you. And, it was a pleasure to have met you as well. All is good around the home-front, just measuring the rain and glad for the amounts so far, and getting ready for spring, and some warm weather.

    You be cool, and keep your self alive, my friend.

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