Saturday, January 17, 2009

we are at El Bolson, the hippie town

this big big stone, almost the size of a 20 storey building...

along Ruta 71... many beautiful lakes.

something that we are trying out... too much chain lubricant splashing all over our bike. will this work???

this new vest was sponsored by Miguel Angel of Puerto Madryn.

it has been 5 days since we left Miguel’s house. we stayed with him for 11 days and spend our 1st year anniversary, his birthday and watched the Dakar race with him. Miguel is a very Argentinean that we have met. His bike travel knowledge in Argentina is superb. He had written various articles about his travel and yet he is a very humble and easy going person. If you come to Puerto Madryn, you must visit him.

we camped freely along the road from Puerto Madryn to Esquel. the first camp site was a wrong decision as it was about 6pm, the sky was very dark and about to rain. I got off the main road and saw some bushes. I rode in and Hope Too was stucked in the sand ditch! both of us could not get it out. we were tired, hungry and it was about to rain. My decision was to pitch the tent for a night and wait till tomorrow to get some help. the ground was sandy. I could not hammer in the tent pegs. The ground was very lose so we left the tent free standing. the heavy wind blew our tent as we hid inside. the fine sand rushed into our tent. it was a horrible experience.

13 January 2009, we entered a national park. along the road, there seems to be like a guard house to ‘filter’ tourist from the local. I stopped and asked the lady (dressed in her home clothes) that got off her seat in the guard house regarding the camping site nearby. then she said something (in Spanish) like we had to pay 30pesos (S$15) each person to enter this road. I took a quick glance at the guard house and there isn’t any price list, I assumed she is trying to get some part time income from us. guess what I did: with my broken Spanish, I told her thank you and off we go!

Am I doing the right thing? She might be right that we have to pay but she did not show me any tickets nor there is any signage of payment. we didnt see the cars in front and back of us paying her.

Ruta 71 was nice as recommanded by Miguel (puerto madyrn) and Paul (germany). there are a lot of camping libre (free camping) by the lake. bikers... u can just dont stop at the unautorized paying station... i think its like india, foreigners always pay almost double than the local here. there is no proper system.

Folks, we need help. we would need:

1) Tires sponsor. we need one set within next week and estimated 3 sets in the future. each set cost S$350.00
2) 1set chain kit ($200.00) within next week.
3) long term engine oil sponsor (estimated 5 liters for every 5000km, about S$75.00 every 5000km). estimated journey back home is 40000km, that means we still need 8 oil change, 8 x S$75.00 = S$600.00
4) 2 x inflatable sleeping mattress (S$120.00 each)
5) we also need help from anyone that is able to design a sticker for us. preferred with Singapore flag design.
6) to help us participate in the ‘Singapore record breakers’. check the web on
7) help us to write letters to corporate companies to seek for equipment (the mentioned above) sponsorship.

at the moment, item 1 and 2 is more important as my last tire, the Metzeler enduro 3 (made in Brazil) only last less than 7000km as compared to the Metzeler Tourance which I used for 20000km previously.

this is the ´supermarket´ that we topped up our food. beware... they are closed from 1pm-5pm.

it is not a MUST to have it (the sponsors). it would be better to have. by having their sponsors, we would last longer for our trip. by getting sponsors, we would encourage the next bikers to do the same for helping their trip. is there any other way to get $ for such a trip? well, lets try!
We hope to get good responses from everyone!
also... is there anything that we can do over here? other than enjoying the road, the food, bike repair, tent zip repair (can anyone suggest how to repair a broken zip?), uploading pictures for lazy readers, enjoy every monent....

seasons greetings!

Goh Mia Chun

below is a blog extracted from a fellow biker. this couple from Poland is now in africa. we had the same experience too:

Maybe it’s too early to be writing this (given we’re only about a quarter of the way through this big continent) and it can be interpreted as a blatant generalisation, but we have to ask - “Africa, where is your pride?!” We’re referring to the constant begging… And it’s not just the kids, crippled or elderely that are doing it but the educated and relatively well off Africans. Time and time again we have met people who at first seem generous and willing to help out a ‘foreigner’ passing through, only to discover that there is a catch… Two examples:- We stopped in a small village in Rwanda to have some lunch. As is typical of Rwanda, dozens of people immediately surrounded us and the bike. One guy came forward asking (in English) if we need some help. We could have managed to order something ourselves but always like to meet the locals and appreciated the offer. All was going well until our new ‘friend’ insisted we buy him a beer. “Why should we buy you a beer?” we asked. “Because I was the first to help you and I’m poor” came the answer. We tried to explain to him that if we gave money and gifts to every African that asked for it, we’d be broke by now.- The second example is from Tanzania. Again we stopped for some food. A middle-aged man sms-ing away on his mobile phone, came up to us for a chat. All was cool until we asked whether they had a well or spring from which we could get some water. He said they didn’t because they’re a poor village, but we could change that by giving them a ‘grant’. What’s wrong with picking up a shovel and digging a hole yourself, we thought…

Not everyone is like this of coarse and we’ve met some fantastic people. Most Africans are super friendly and always smiling, but some just can’t help themselves when they see a white face. We realise a lot of it has been caused/influenced by western countries, who use corrupt governments to feed off Africa’s rich resources and think that a bit of humanitarian aid will silence their conscience. Also ‘generous’ tourists who think material possessions is what the Africans are missing don’t help the situation either. But we don’t buy the argument that if you think you’re poor, the world owes you something. We’ve been to many countries and regions of the world (Mongolia, central Asia…etc) where people have less than here, yet don’t expect anything in return for their hospitality. It’s not for our benefit that we say all this (although it would make for a better travel experience), but how can a country (continent) hope to prosper and move forward when they feel helpless and give up their pride so cheaply

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