Dakar 2013 – Day 15

Buenos Aires – 23 January 2013

We had to meet one of Claudia’s colleagues at customs at 9:30am so it was a later start than normal. After a quick breakfast we headed down to customs with all of the necessary paperwork. Patricia joined us there a short while later and we took up our position in the short queue in the positive expectation that this was a mere formality and that we could pack our bikes before lunch and enjoy a free day in Buenos Aires.

The minutes ticked by. And then the hours. As the clock approached 12:30 we started becoming concerned that we would have time to pack the bikes at all today. We regularly tried to learn from Patricia what could be causing the delay. Her poor English and our poor Spanish meant that we never found out. But she must have worked some magic as we were called in individually to sign our documents shortly after 12:30. By 1 pm we were in possession of the final papers and were authorized to take the bikes to the port for loading into the container.

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In customs with Patricia

Then it was back to the hotel for a final packing of our kit. Tents, dirty clothes and riding suits stained with the evidence of all of the bugs and butterflies that we had massacred in hile and Argentina were all stuffed into the large bags.

The temperature was somewhat higher than the previous day and so it was a relief to be able to ride the short distance from our hotel to the port in shorts and T-shirts. Again we needed a txi to carry the large bags of kit to the port. The traffic was crazy and the taxi driver was not sure as to the directions but, with the help of the local policia we made it to the port by 2:00pm.

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They warehouse didn’t seem ready for us and so,it took around 30 minutes to actually wheel the bikes into the warehouse and out of the bearing sun. The day was hot and muggy and there was no air movement to cool us down once we arrived. As soon as they had figured out what was going on (with another call to the ever helpful Claudia) we were able to wheel the bikes into the shade although the temperature inside the warehouse seemed hooter than outside in the sunshine. No sooner were we inside the warehouse than the heavens opened for a short sharp shower. Thankfully we were not riding at the time. The rain only seemed to add to the humidity without cooling the ambient temperature at all.

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We managed to find a taxi in the seedy port suburb of La Boca and we piled in headed for Avenida Florida where some of the guys needed to exchange currency. Mike and I didn’t want to do any shopping but had missed lunch and so found a small restaurant nearby and enjoyed a late lunch. Then it was on to the hotel to wait for the return of the others.

Around 8pm we all headed out to the Palermo Soho area to find a restaurant at Plaza Serrano on what would be our last evening in Buenos Aires. The evening was still hot and muggy and the guys were tired. After a nice meal mike, Meyer and I returned to the hotel ready for a good sleep, comforted in the thought that our trusty machines were in the custody of customs and ready for their return trip home early in February.

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