Right now I am in Salta, ready to continue my journey onward to Buenos Aires. I have not left yet because to travel on my motorbike I need to have papers to prove that it is mine. These papers which were from the previous owner, I sent over to Corrientes from Bolivia so that I could get the ones that prove I am the owner. They were sent to me here in Salta on Monday using the standard mail system. They have still not arrived yet.
One of the problems in Argentina is a very expensive and slow mail system, especially in the north. The documents were sent to a city only 800kms away. This should take only two or three days to arrive, but five days have already passed and no papers.
A Small Dilemma
Now I have a small dilemma on my hands. I was hoping and planning to get to Buenos Aires early next week at the latest. If I am to get there on my motorbike in time, those papers need to arrive tomorrow in the mail. If they do not then my chances of arriving when I had planned are basically zero, especially since the Monday is a public holiday and the post office is not open until Tuesday.
Failing to make it on my bike by that time would not be the end of the earth, but it would require a fair bit of changes to my plans. So I am hanging out for the post tomorrow, and when those papers arrive I will leave immediately. After all, I want to also enjoy my journey down there. I am thinking too, that if they do not arrive then I will go by bus instead. This way I can relax while down there, waiting for my papers to arrive, and then return later to pick up my bike and its papers.
Fixing The Bike
When I arrived in Salta, there were no lights on my Siambretta. Now that I am back here, I discover that the lighting coil in the engine had burnt out. No wonder there was nothing that I could do about it to get the lights working for the last part of my journey to Salta. Instead I had to brave it down the motorway without lights for hours until I arrived here.
In addition to the lights, the bike also did not have a lot of power and would only travel at some paltry speed of 40km/h which meant that my journeys were very long and drawn out. This too was looked at by Isaac’s friend and declared to be fixed. A quick check on the local roads reveals that the bike has improved but is still a long way from great. It seems that now I can travel at something like 60km/h max.
They say that the bike has the potential to travel at 100km/h but I have yet to see that sort of power come out of my bike. Being a 175cc engine, there should be a lot more power than what I have currently experienced, but not one of the mechanics that have looked at it to date can make the changes it needs to live up to the specifications. Even with the new engine that it now has.
The Journey to Buenos Aires
The journey to Buenos Aires is normally something like 20 hours in a large bus. These buses travel at 90km/h without stopping very much. If my bike travels only at 60km/h, the journey will be considerably longer, in the order of 30 hours. Slower still and it may even take 40 hours to arrive. That is a lot of riding.
The journey should take around three days to complete, although four days would be a lot more comfortable. Now that I have lights on the bike that work, there is also the possibility of riding into the night if I need to, although it is preferable to keep each day to a manageable amount of riding.
Hanging Out With Isaac
While here in Salta, I have been hanging out with Isaac at his clothes shops. He has two of them in the centre of the city, and is still in the process of starting up. They run from 9.00am to 1.00pm and then in the evening from 5.00pm until 10.00pm, so we both head out there and sit and chat during those hours. It has amazed me at how fast the hours fly during these days.
Isaac attending one of his shops in a new shopping complex in Salta.
Elias, another friend, has an internet cyber in a nearby house, so I have wandered over there to catch up with him also. We have had some great nights both chatting about life and learning how to create a website for his church, led by Isaac’s mum.
In the process of hanging out with these two very amazing men, I have met some of their good friends and been able to catch up with them a good deal. It has been a good time of resting and relaxing as well as catching up. Soon I will be back on the road again and doing a lot more travel. This little oasis of time has been very needed.
Now, if only those papers would arrive tomorrow.