Tuesday, 29 November 2011

 Valparaiso censores (elevator)

Port Valparaiso

another censore

KTM race truck

hanging out with team ktm

George, Kate, Martyn, Joe and Rob

In an effort to improve our Spanish we've been trying to fit in a few self-taught lessons. I have enough trouble with English so don't find it easy at all. Mary who works at Hostel De La Bara where we stayed in Santiago was in the process of learning some English so we helped her out a bit and then reversed her learning work books and she helped us out, we had a lot of laughs and after several sessions actually come away with a few new words.

During one of our days out exploring the city of Santiago we just happened to see a nice KTM 990r which stuck out among all the commuter bikes. We decided that we had to go and have a chat with the owner. Turned out that we had bumped into Martyn an ex pat pommy now living and working in Santiago, who had contacted us earlier through the ADV rider offering some assistance with our bikes on arrival in Chile. One in a few million chance of that. Martyn has been fantastic offering us a bed and after 3-4 days and a few beers and BBQ, swimming in the pool, map reading and just general bike talk we had a great time.

Martyn also hooked us up with a local adventure bikers meet up the coast a couple of hours north west of Santiago at Pichidangui. We felt like gate crashers without our bikes and when we walked into the site in our shorts and sneakers we were promptly told that the place was fully booked out for the event and to leave. Once we managed to convince the organisers that we were actually bikers from NZ we were welcomed with open arms and met a bunch of great people, got a lot of advice for our route planning and had a super BBQ evening. Over 120 people present lots of BMW adventure and KTM 990's.

The KTM Chile crew kindly offered us a bed in there sweetly set up transporter race truck and also gave us a ride back to Santiago. The same vehicle is used to support the Chilean Dakar KTM team. We helped pull down there display tent and load the bikes and then hit the road. With 5 brand new ktm's on board, two 990 adventure's, a 990 supermoto, a 690 enduro, and a 150 motocrosser, we had the ultimate bike collection and vehicle to get us any where and we laughed about a high jacking. Francisco the driver was just too nice, the DR and XT will have to do the job! A big mucho gracias to Martyn and Kate for giving us a great few days.

We are now out at the port city of Valparaiso where we are staying at the Hostal Casabella. The owners Rich and his partner Lilly have been helping us out with customs and freight here in Chili and have been exceptionally helpful. We are really grateful as we know that with out there help we would be really struggling with our limited Spanish. Valparaiso is a Unesco World Heritage site and is an interesting place. Colourful houses, lots a bit rough and half broken cover the surrounding steep slopes which can be accessed by famous censores (elevators). The main streets are full of markets and people.

Our ship is due in port today so we may have the bikes by the end of the week? Simon, the third amigo in our crew is still missing in action( last seen in Vancouver and heading south) but with his big 990 we're confident that he will catch up with us at some point. Looking forward to opening up our boxes. Off down to the port now to see if we can spot any NZ ships anchored up with our container.

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