Report Argentina


Wednesday, 4 July 2007


The heavy Boeing 747 takes off from Cape Town international and makes a loop over the city. As the wing drops, I catch a quick view over table mountain and 10 hours later I can already see the outskirts of Buenos Aires from my window.

I am in South America. New continent, new luck!

In the evening I check in a hotel in old San Telmo.

San Telmo is the artist’s quarter of Buenos Aires and the birth place of the famous Tango  Argentino. My small roof top apartment overlooks the neighborhood and the cats climb up to my window.


Life on the roads is bussy here and the quarter has got a pleasant atmosphere. San Telmo was actually named after Saint Elmo. The sailors of the 13th  century believed in his powers and according to the legend, he could protect ships and villages from storms and disasters.




Thursday, 5 July 2007


Today I go to the freight agency to find out when my motorcycle is going to arrive in Buenos Aires.

In the office I’m told that the ship arrived today and that the bike will be released from the warehouse the following tuesday. In the afternoon, I head downtown again to buy the mandatory motorbike insurance.

The whole process takes about 5 minutes and the price for one month is less than 10 Euros.

The evening I spend in a Pizza restaurant watching the locals with interest. It is always fascinating when you go from one continent to the other within a day…


Friday, 6 July 2007


A free weekend lies ahead and I explore the city on a running trip. The delta of the Rio Plata boasts with great running trails and spectacular views.

The center of Buenos Aires immediately tells you that you are in a South American metropolis. The streets are crowded and the architecture reminds you of ancient Europe. Being a runner, one has got the advantage, the street sellers don’t catch up with you.

Saturday, 7 July 2007


Today I do some sightseeing and run through the splendourful parks along the Av. Del Libertador.

There is a beautiful rose garden, which could as well be found in any traditional  European capital.

Buenos Aires is a big city and getting around means covering huge distances most of the time. Combining sight seeing with running seems to be ideal.

During the evening, I take a  walk along the Av. Corrientes with its many theatres and cinemas and am surprised by the rhythm of the city. Some of the theatres and cinemas start their program at midnight and people are still standing in long queues. The clubs of the city are open from 2 o'clock in the morning and that’s when people start going out.



Sunday, 8 July 2007


Today I visit La Boca. La Boca means „the delta “and represents the old docklands of the city. This quarter is especially famous for the houses with their colourful fronts.




Certainly, the rough atmosphere of former times has long gone. Today, La Boca is a meeting place for tourists from all over the world.







Monday, 9 July 2007


The winter seems to arrive in Buenos Aires. The temperature drops down to 2 degrees and for the first time since 1928, Buenos Aires experiences snow.

In the evening the wind increases and the snowfall gets stronger. The roofs are already white and during the night a thin layer of snow covers the whole city. That has never been seen so far!

People are running into the streets, building snowmen on cars and even snowball fights erupted!

Somehow it is sad to experience the effects that global climatic change already has had on our world. I was in Cape Town just a few weeks ago when the Cape of Africa was hit by one of the heaviest storms in history. Wind speeds of over 180 kilometres an hour where recorded, that also has never happened before! 



Tuesday, 10 July 2007


At the shipping agency they tell me that I will have to wait for my motorbike until friday. Customs won’t be ready before thursday and after these formalities I can pick up the bike.

In the afternoon I go for a run around the city. The temperature is down at 3 degrees but fortunately the sunshine has returned again melting the snow which had settled.







Wednesday, 11 July 2007


Today I visit the famous cemetery of Recoleta. This cemetery was inaugurated in 1822 and was originally founded as the first public cemetery of Buenos Aires.

Later El Cementerio, which meanwhile extends over more than 54,000 square meters, became the most important historical and artistic monument in Argentina. This enormous city of the dead is regarded as an unique expression of monumental cemetery architecture all over the world.




Besides those of numerous presidents there is also found the grave of Evita (Maria Eva Duarte de Peron).




Thursday, 12 July 2007



Today I go to the customs to complete my temporary motorcycle import. The entire port area is situated over a length of approximately 20 kilometers and finding the right offices turns out to be rather difficult.

However, people are very helpful and in the end everything is easy. Tomorrow I can go to the warehouse and collect my bike!

I spend the evening in one of the traditional Tango and Social Clubs of San Telmo.



The athmosphere is great and the regular guests are very welcoming. However, as a stranger one must respect an important rule. If a man looks into the eyes of a lady it is considered as a request for dancing. If then a man does not like or doesn’t know how to dance it would be considered as an offence or an awkward attempt of pulling the girl! 



Usually a night in a social club is spend with the partner and the art of dancing the tango is practiced for a lifetime.




Friday, 13 July 2007


Friday the 13th  is my lucky day! Releasing of the motorcycle from the warehouse proves to be relatively simple.

We open the crate and the customs officer checks the chassis number. As everything matches there are “no mucho proplemas” and I get my Carnet stamped. I can put the bike together.



To build in the front wheel I simply put the bike on the side and clamp it in over the axle.




I have brought some fuel in a jerry can, and after connecting the battery, there comes the exciting moment. The engine fires up at the second attempt and as I already want to drive out of the port, one of the workers stops me and puts a sticker of the local soccer club on my box. He explains to me that even Diego Maradona played in this traditional club and that I can be proud to have it on my bike.  

Now, I am ready for Argentina, and moments later the afternoon traffic of Buenos Aires receives me on the street.

This of course can be nearly as emotional as the rejoicing around the national soccer team. Especially at days when soccer acctually is beeing played. Each game is broadcasted on the radio and when Argentina scores, the car drivers honk collectively and people celebrate in the streets.


Saturday, 14 July 2007


I spend the day with some preparations and do some maintainance on the bike. A new continent lies ahead and waits to be discovered. Tomorrow I’ll head out of Buenos Aires and into the great plains of northern Argentina.




Sunday, 15 July 2007


I say good-bye to my new friends from the hostel and leave the city behind me heading  north.

What a feeling! The motorcycle smoothly rolls over the endless highways and the sun is up high. Around noon, I cross the bridge over the Uruguay river and come into the province of Corrientes.

This part of the country is also called Mesopotamia or Entre Rios (between two rivers) and stretches between the Rio Uruguay and the Rio Parana.

I spend the night in the small town of Concordia. In the evening Argentina plays against Brasil in the finals of the South American soccer cup and the local’s expectations are up high. After 45 minutes Brazil already leads with 2 goals and half of the city is at the edge of a collective depression. The game finally ends 3 / 0  Brazil and the national disaster couldn’t be any worse.       




Monday, 17 July 2007



Today I drive into the corner between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The Ruta 14 is the only road that leads up north and there are some police checkpoints along the way that are notorious for checking papers and impossing big fines for little things.

One of these checkpoints I approach as stupid as only I could! As I turn left at a crossing, I swing over to the left side of the road. Obviously, still used to the left-hand traffic in South Africa that does not seem strange to me at all. Suddenly a policeman runs up to me, wildly waving his arms and loudly calling me to stop.

At that moment I realize my mistake and start laughing. I say ”Estoy perdido, se va a Santo Tome a esta carretera?”

Whereupon he signals me to drive on as I hear him say something like “Idiot” together with “a la derecha”.

More stupidity in approaching a checkpoint is almost impossible but at least they forgot about the control.  

I spend the evening in the small town of Santo Tome.





Tuesday, 18 July 2007


The landscape starts to change. The wide pampa alternates with subtropical and evergreen forests.

More palmtrees are around and parts of the vegeation already refer to the rain forest lying ahead.



Also the weather changes. After a warm afternoon it begins to rain. The road mirrors the sunset and the numerous trucks cover me with their splash-water.





Wednesday, 18 July 2007


Today I drive to the famous Iguazu falls

The Cataratas do Iguazu belong to the largest and most impressive falls in the world.

They are nearly 2 kilometers long and up to 100 metres high!






Thursday, 19 July 2007


Leaving Argentina takes about  5 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 what’s 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.

That’s doesn’t go! Without a stamp in the passport I’m illegal in the country and may not leave again.

I  get off my bike and enter the building. After a little conversation the policeman is convinced that I’m 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 beautiful…. rain forests of the world!