Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Day 73: La Paz to Pichelingue to the middle of the Gulf of California, Mexico

I say hello then. Jolly good old greetings to all of youse nice chaps and chapesses wherever you may be and whoever you may be.
Well she's been a ripper of a couple of days alright slightly sullied by some difficult moments with some right bloody drongos.
I'll begin just with some photos I took as I wandered around La Paz. What a lovely city full of charming friendly people who don't work for the government.
I just love these pelicans.

I liked these rubbish bins. Generally they seemed to get well used.

You know how much I like signs.

I have been exercising my Espanol and have been able to successfully buy some seasick pills, a bandana, an umbrella (at last!) and a couple or three beers and bites to eat. The varieties of sign language for "umbrella" are many and mostly hilarious. Why the young gentleman thought I wanted condoms I have NO idea.
Obviously christening is a big thing here. Go Bambi!

The hotel checkout time was 1pm which was very helpful so I gradually packed up the bike during the morning reducing my luggage to one carryon bag for the ferry and putting valuables where they could be locked away. My tankbag was a bit of a risk but I decided to leave it on Ebony (sin Kiwi of course) and emptied out anything I thought might seem of value.
We left the hotel at about 130. I think they were quite keen to see us go but the staff were really helpful in getting our bikes out from the garage and arranging things for us. Maybe they could see a tip coming? (How did no.12 in the third race at Ellerslie do anyway?) Dick's gps is still uncooperative but we had been to Pichelingue two times already so reckoned we knew the way. It was hot though. I'm sorry, I know that NZ is having a freeze right now but this was seriously hot and seriously humid.
Along the way we stopped off at a really flash hotel for lunch. The duty manager was a biker who had recently sold his R1200GS so he was happy to let us park out front and leave our gear. I wasn't able to eat much but had a lettuce salad and a soda. We then pootled off to the ferry terminal and the final round of getting our importacion temporal permits for the girls.
We fronted up to the counter and the service person looked hard and long at our tourist cards, pursing her lips and looking dubious (great actor I reckon) before she gave us a huge smile and pronounced everything to be bien. Only one problem .... "Aha"she said! .... we had to have photocopies of our tourist cards. Bugger. Back to La Paz? No, no problem. There was a photocopy stall just nearby. Phew! Dick toddled off to get the copies while his paperwork was processed and then mine. At last, we had the vehicle importation permits, had had the $USD400 taken from our credit cards (to be returned on exit from Mexico)had very very carefully checked the vin numbers on the documents and we were on our way.
First to Customs where I had nothing to declare. Then an interesting little ritual; I had to press the button on the traffic lights as confirmation that I had told the truth. I invited the official to do it for me but no, I had to dismount, personally press the button my little old self and lights went green and so did I! (Not literally, I'm not on the ship yet.)
Ebony and I then had to be weighed (so light that the scales didn't move), pay 73pesos in tax, share a huge laugh with the tax collectors (blowed if I know what the joke was), have my ticket checked and then be directed to the shelter for motorcyclists. Where we met Chantal and Jean, a French Canadian couple from Montreal on R1200GSs who are doing much the same as us.

It was hot but ok in the shelter. We had a good chat, told a few lies as you do and generaly horsed around. There was a young mexican rider there too on a ducati and with the flashest protective armour that i have seen in a long while.
After an hour or so we got the signal to go. We rode up the ramp into the Mazatlan Star

and then down another narrow ramp into the lowest hold. The lowest of the low.

The temperature was over 40 degrees C and very humid. There were no tie-downs but fortunately I had two and tied Ebony down as best I could into the brackets set into the deck. Others had to use chains. Yuck. Not a good look with the bikes all lined up beside each other. Dominoes anybody?
Dick and I were both struggling by now. They had closed off the narrow ramp above so the temperature rose even more. We had to get our bags and riding gear up three sets of ladders to an elevator. All we could do was to pass things up to each other, make a little pile at the foot of a ladder and then pass up again. In the process my camera fell out of my helmet, one deck down onto a steel floor. Here is the photo that a camera makes when crashing onto a steel deck!

Finally we got to the top and were directed to our cabins. I had to hand over my passport as security for the cabin key which I didn't like much but then I didn't have much choice. I was soaked and dripping little piddles, sorry puddles on the deck. My cabin was lovely - aircon, handbasin and three beds all for me.

I stripped off, had a wash and got changed and then collapsed for a time to recover.
After a while I found the cafeteria and bought a couple of beers and sat in my cabin for a beer before going for a scout around. Not too much to see to be honest. The seascape was very barren.

Kiwi checked out the safety provisions.

Afterwards I joined D&D for dinner, or they joined me I think, and then went and sat outside in the tropical heat to look at the sights and equliberalise. (good word aye)

I knew that Chantel and Jean had not been able to get a cabin and were going to spend the night in the salon in aircraft style seats. Itseemed a bit silly to have two empty beds in mine so I went to find them and invited them to join me. They were happy to do so and moved in. We sat outside for a bit more and then went to bed. Or to bunk.
I went to sleep quite quickly really but was woken up early in the morning by the shipping moving quite considerably in the swell. It wasn't too bad though and I left my seasick pills unopened. I had to go to the loo a couple of times during the night which meant maneuvering my way around the soldier on sentry duty in the corridor. There was a lot of post-parade soldiers on board and I suspect he was guarding the armory. He seemed to cope ok with this funny old joker wearing a lavalava lurching up the corridor towards him. Twice. (only lurching you understand because of the motion of the ship. Aye)
And that dear readers is about that. Tomorrow we will wake, we hope, still somewhere in the middle of the Gulf of California. Buenos noches.
Today's run: 20kms
Cumulative: 20,559kms
Tipovers: 2

Location:Middle of the Gulf of California, Mexico.

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