Saturday, 8 June 2013

Leaving South America

Final days winding down my life in South America.  Gee whiz, since the time I arrived Cartagena, Colombia in January 2012, all the way down to Ushuaia, Argentina.. and everything in between, there have been the highest of highs (5,903 meters to be exact!) and the lowest of lows.

The time has come to prepare the bike for shipping to Auckland, New Zealand.  I've given myself two weeks here in Buenos Aires.  Not because I need two weeks to prepare the bike, but it's just for me to settle, to reflect on the last 14 months and to savor the last bits of this amazing continent in style.

Looking around, it's still all about Eva Peron (Evita) here.. even though she's been gone since 1952! She made quite an impact on the country in her short life, then died at the age of 33. If you want to learn more about her, click on the link of her name highlighted above.


The view from my little temporary home near Avenida de Mayo. I'm not usually a city girl, but I love being right here in the heart of it all.


While I'm out here on my balcony taking photos, I can't help but to take one last photo of my favorite jeans.  I've been sewing them and sewing them and even this morning, the material has become so thin, they keep tearing for no good reason.  Seriously, I'm just sitting at the table on the computer, I look down and watch the leg split again right above my last sewing job. What the heck, I didn't even move!! I did get my money's worth, so I'll be leaving these behind.  One last thing to carry on the airplane when I move on.  I'll miss these jeans!


I do have a very important job to take care of before delivering my bike to the airlines for shipping.  I didn't have the mechanics here fix the problem from Uruguay, but thankfully they agreed to let me store the bike at their shop. It's much safer than downtown Buenos Aires, and an ideal place to come in each day for the supersize cleaning job I need to do.  After crossing 48 borders, the country of New Zealand will be the first one who will not allow that bike through unless it's clean and spotless.  They have very serious quarantine rules. So to avoid extra costs on the other end, I take to cleaning my bike with a tootbrush.. seriously!

For three days in a row, I took the 40 minute train ride out to the suburb where my bike lives. 


Three years of dirt needs to be removed!


 Gee whiz, can you imagine if you have to do this at every border in the world!??


Every time I think I've got it perfect, I see another speck of dried dust in a corner.. ugh!


And then the train ride back home, I seem to hit rush hour no matter what time I go..


If I wasn't working on the bike,  I'd wander about Buenos Aires and see tango tango tango.. everywhere tango. Night and day, there is a true passion in the city for this dance.


This couple wasn't dressed up.  If I'm right, they were just out for a Sunday stroll when the music hit them.. They did one dance and then walked on!  I thought that was very cool...  In my imagination, they've been married since they were 18 years old and the passion still lives..!


I was sort of wishing I was the girl in the photo above...he looks like the perfect man to tango with!!!




I put this next tourist attraction off for most of my stay.. I eventually wandered in to the cemetary on one of my last days. I knew it was popular but it didn't appeal to me at first until I thought, why not. Everyone must want to come here for a reason.  And I found out why.  It truly is quite an impressive cemetary!


I didn't take a tour.  I just wandered about making up my own stories to the gorgeous sculptures here.  On this first one, it looked like to me that the man wanted to stay and is holding on to dear Earth.  But the Angel says, "No, no! You've got to go that way... UP!" ;-)


Big money spent on the plots here.  This modern marble structure had quite an eery Angel of Death.


This next one was my favorite.  What a beautiful sculpture of the young girl who died along with her beloved dog.


 The dog's name is Sabu. "Faithful friend to Liliana"

 Time ran out??


If I had to pick, the one above suited me.  Just a rock in a natural setting.. perfect!




Okay!  That will conclude your tiny tour of Buenos Aires! It's kind of weird to include so many photos of a cemetary in a blog post.. but I think of all the hard work and money put into the place, I might as well share. And to go even deeper into thought, it sort of represents the end of my time in South America.

We've packed the bike into to the truck to be delivered to the airline warehouse, where the plan is for the bike to take a lovely flight with Emirates to Auckland! And for me...well?  I should probably explain how this all worked out.

I've been researching the costs for quite some time on how to get myself and my motorcycle across the ocean to New Zealand or Australia.  Each time I tried to work it out myself or with helpers, the cost was coming up to about $5000 USD... !!!!  It was a real worry for this much money going out on my next transfer as you can imagine.

I think it was Mark who suggested I check my frequent flier miles as he was using his for the same reason.  I checked and thank goodness I have enough!  However, I can't just fly Buenos Aires to Auckland on one frequent flier ticket, the connections didn't work that way.  Lots and lots of playing around on websites, I figured out that it was cheaper to fly to the United States first, then New Zealand.  The next challenge, I couldn't use my FF miles to Auckland, only to Sydney, Australia!  Logistics!!!

But the flight from Sydney to Auckland is cheap.. So final conclusion, I'm going Argentina to USA (and taking a few days to visit my family.. that's going to work out well!) And from Indiana, I will fly to Washington DC (East) then DC to San Francisco.. to Sydney, eventually reaching Auckland for a grand total of $200 USD! Thank the Lord for Frequent Flier Miles!!

And for the bike?  The fees and charges added up to around $1450 USD for the size and weight of my bike.  They do NOT allow you to send personal items along with the bike, so I'll have to carry everything myself on my own flight.  Anyway, the black market is crazy for United States dollars in bills, so I was able to exchange my emergency money on the black market for such a good price, that it brought the price of my motorcycle shipping down to just under $900 USD.  Woo hoo!!  So my $5000 trip has been officially reduced to $1100 total for both.  I am happy with THAT result!


Dear ol' Tony get's a shrink wrap job at the airport.  I might borrow the idea, maybe to lose some weight myself!



Ciao, Tony.. Thanks for getting me this far, and see you in New Zealand.......

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