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Valdivia

In & Around Valdivia

We arrived in Valdivia on Thursday, thinking to stay a couple of days – we finally left the area on Tuesday! Valdivia’s waterfront as seen from the bridge. Our ‘Berta’ is standing near the tall ship in the far background. We had been searching for a laundromat for the past couple of weeks – the […]

Originally posted on <a href="https://capetosicily.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/trip-4-zanzibar/">capetosicily</a>:<br />21 dec 2014 The day in Zanzibar starts late. I couldn’t sleep the last night and I ended up watching the last movie of Nightmares (Freddy) at two am… The result is that I woke up late and I was on the street at 11:00. The stone town is nice and…<img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=capetosicily.wordpress.com&blog=54704977&post=1661&subd=capetosicily&ref=&feed=1" width="1" height="1"/>

TRIP 4 – Zanzibar

Originally posted on capetosicily:21 dec 2014 The day in Zanzibar starts late. I couldn’t sleep the last night and I ended up watching the last movie of Nightmares (Freddy) at two am… The result is that I woke up late and I was on the street at 11:00. The stone town is nice and…

Right before the new year, we crossed into Argentina for the first time. With each new country we enter, we face some of the exact same challenges. One of those is obtaining the proper currency, which is usually easily done through an ATM in the nearest border town. Easy, that is, until we entered Argentina. To be fair, we could've obtained Argentinian pesos by visiting an ATM in the usual manner, but that would have been fairly stupid on our part.<br /><br />It would be stupid, not only because there are usually a dozen people in line, but because there is a black market for obtaining pesos that offers 50% more for your dollar. This market is known as the "blue dollar". It's a black market and therefore illegal but... it's kind of like going 50 miles per hour (mph) in a 45 mph zone - everyone does it!<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-e9GdcH3gowE/VMfr6OatvrI/AAAAAAAAN-M/YcCbFDqYmRc/s1600/IMG_0098.JPG"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-e9GdcH3gowE/VMfr6OatvrI/AAAAAAAAN-M/YcCbFDqYmRc/s1600/IMG_0098.JPG" height="400" width="310"/></a></td></tr><tr><td>Who is this shady dude?</td></tr></tbody></table><br />The reason for the blue dollar is that Argentinians want their savings in dollars (or other "stable" foreign currency) rather than pesos. However, the legal process for doing this is cumbersome and sets a limit on the amount. Faced with annual inflation of around 25%, there is a strong motivation to bend the rules.<br /><br />The method by which a tourist would obtain this higher rate of return on their dollar is to supposedly find a Casa de Cambio (House of Exchange) where the offical/legal rate will be posted, but the blue rate will be honored. We found things to be a little different, and quite a bit harder, because the small border towns in the south do not have Casas de Cambios (for the record, we crossed near Junin de Los Andes).<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XrsK-VTc4NY/VMewF_-g3CI/AAAAAAAAN98/Dg2XNVksaWk/s1600/Casa_De_Cambio_Melaque_760.jpg"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-XrsK-VTc4NY/VMewF_-g3CI/AAAAAAAAN98/Dg2XNVksaWk/s1600/Casa_De_Cambio_Melaque_760.jpg" height="480" width="640"/></a></td></tr><tr><td>Pic courtesy of www.costalegre.ca</td></tr></tbody></table><br />After many days of running around slyly asking people if they knew "where we could exchange our dollars (wink, wink)", we finally figured out the secret. Avoid the pharmacies. They offer the worst rates. The local insurance agent, while not being able to insure our foreign vehicle (argh!), gave us the best rate, but didn't have as much cash as we wanted. For some reason, the <i>independently-owned</i> auto-parts shops seem to be where it's at. At the shop where we exchanged the most dollars, things started out slowly. The owners were hush-hush and wanted to wait until all the other customers had left the shop. Once we had our backstreet casa de cambio all to ourselves, the owners negotiated a rate with us. After we exchanged our first $400 and walked out the door, one of the owners came running after us, asking if we could exchange another $500. Aren't you the guy who wouldn't <i>do</i> more than $400 just 2 minutes ago? Maybe it was our crisp, new Benjamins that lured him in.<br /><span><br /></span><span>Next thing we know, a young employee wants in on the action, and asks if we'll exchange more. Given his enthusiasm, we upped the rate and walked out of the shop feeling a bit exhilarated, and relieved to finally get it over with. My bra was stuffed with literally hundreds of bills. Good thing there's lots of room in there. Hopefully all these pesos that we have stashed throughout the truck won't lose too much value before we can spend them.</span><br /><span><br /></span><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OZlShw0sFbA/VMfuge40xmI/AAAAAAAAN-Y/4gV_BVDwEXQ/s1600/DSC07855%2B(Large).JPG"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OZlShw0sFbA/VMfuge40xmI/AAAAAAAAN-Y/4gV_BVDwEXQ/s1600/DSC07855%2B(Large).JPG" height="424" width="640"/></a></td></tr><tr><td>Just 4 years ago, a 100 peso bill would be worth $26. Today, it's officially worth $11 and only ~$8 at the blue rate.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br /><b><u>For more information on the blue dollar:</u></b><br /><br /><ul><li>The published daily rate: <a href="http://www.dolarblue.net/">www.dolarblue.net</a></li></ul><ul><li>The Vangabonds:  <a href="http://www.vangabonds.com/the-blue-dollar-argentinas-somewhat-illegal-ish-dollar-market/" target="_blank">The Blue Dollar: Argentina’s Somewhat Illegal-ish Dollar Market</a></li></ul><ul><li>Capitol Southbound:  <a href="http://capitolsouthbound.com/2013/06/04/the-dolar-blue-in-argentina-how-to-get-the-best-exchange-rate-in-argentina/" target="_blank">The Dolar Blue in Argentina: How to get the best exchange rate in Argentina</a></li></ul><ul><li>Argentina Independent:  <a href="http://www.argentinaindependent.com/currentaffairs/analysis/inside-argentinas-blue-dollar-market/" target="_blank">Inside Argentina’s Blue Dollar Market</a></li></ul>

Argentina: Stuffing Our Pockets With Cash

Right before the new year, we crossed into Argentina for the first time. With each new country we enter, we face some of the exact same challenges. One of those is obtaining the proper currency, which is usually easily done through an ATM in the nearest border town. Easy, that is, until we entered Argentina. […]

Originally posted on <a href="https://capetosicily.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/trip-4-dar-es-salaam-bike-preparation">capetosicily</a>:<br />23 dec 2014 Today I going back to Dar Es Salaam. The ferryboat is nicer than the one I took to come to Zanzibar. After checking in at the econolodge, I went with the driver of the hotel to the KTM shop to check out the bike. Dennis was there and…<img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=capetosicily.wordpress.com&blog=54704977&post=1617&subd=capetosicily&ref=&feed=1" width="1" height="1"/>

TRIP 4 – Dar Es Salaam, bike preparation

Originally posted on capetosicily:23 dec 2014 Today I going back to Dar Es Salaam. The ferryboat is nicer than the one I took to come to Zanzibar. After checking in at the econolodge, I went with the driver of the hotel to the KTM shop to check out the bike. Dennis was there and…

Originally posted on <a href="https://capetosicily.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/trip-4-zanzibar-2">capetosicily</a>:<br />22 Dec 2014 Also today I woke up late… and still with the cold… My nose and sinus is torturing me. But the show must go on! In the morning I take the bike and start visiting the medina of the stone town. It is very nice with its labyrinthian streets…<img alt="" border="0" src="https://pixel.wp.com/b.gif?host=capetosicily.wordpress.com&blog=54704977&post=1594&subd=capetosicily&ref=&feed=1" width="1" height="1"/>

TRIP 4 – Zanzibar 2

Originally posted on capetosicily:22 Dec 2014 Also today I woke up late… and still with the cold… My nose and sinus is torturing me. But the show must go on! In the morning I take the bike and start visiting the medina of the stone town. It is very nice with its labyrinthian streets…

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Colorado is closed. Part 2

Closed campgrounds, closed roads, closed parks, closed mountains, closed shops. Seriously Colorado! What is open? Great Sand Dunes National Park. That’s what. And it was spectacular. Not even closed a little bit. The dunes were huge, the tallest in North America apparently. Colorado does appear to like having ‘the tallest’ and ‘the highest’ of everything. It […]

This picture is on every postcard and travel magazine for a reason. It is spectacular!

Machu Pichu With Friends

One of the things we most dreaded and most looked forward to was Machu Picchu. We dreaded it because it is has turned into an overpriced tourist black hole. We looked forward to it because, hell, it is Machu Picchu! Isn’t this place on most peoples bucket list? It was on ours. And we drove […]

road

Orizaba to Cholula

Traffic jams and shipping containers… We stop in Orizaba for the night and sleep at the Grand Hotel de France.  Makes sense in the middle of mexico, so we made sure to eat a few slices of the italian pizza in the courtyard.  The hotel is beautiful and was built …

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César, Martha et Neftali et leur famille: une rencontre extraordinaire

Nous recherchions un bivouac à Ciudad Hidalgo et étions désespérés de ne rien trouver lorsque, tout à coup, un jeune homme, César, frappe à la fenêtre du camping-car et dit à Philippe « Comment ca va? ». De fil en aiguille, l’angoisse de dormir dans une ville, à priori peu accueillante, s’est transformée en une rencontre extraordinaire. […]

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Le Centre du Mexique bis

 21 janvier. La réserve de biosphère du papillon monarque est située dans une chaîne de montagnes à environ 100 km au nord-ouest de Mexico. Elle est la plus grande réserve de papillons monarques au monde. Chaque automne, environ 150 millions de papillons provenant d’Amérique du Nord viennent hiberner et s’accoupler dans la réserve, colorant les arbres en orange […]

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Riding south through Argentina

After Christmas we decide to try and cover some miles and ride south through Argentina, which is less expensive than Chile.  We ride south on Ruta 40 through San Rafael and on to Malargue the first night. The road leads… Read More ›

Farmland on the hills

On the Road in Colombia

For us, the landscape was the star in Colombia. We’ve met other overlanders that gawk at the speed we’ve been travelling, but we’ve come to accept two things on this journey. One, we get bored after a few days in…

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Mais um lugar imperdível em Barcelona

Os primeiros dias em Barcelona foram de tempo ruim, 3 ou 4 dias de chuvas consecutivas e com isso a programação foi leve, jantares, cinema e mais jantares. Durante a semana a Anna continuou com sua rotina de trabalho e nós pudemos aproveitar para trabalhar um pouco, lavamos 7 máquinas de roupas, cortei o cabelo […]

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Barcelona e a Sagrada Família

Chegar em Barcelona foi muito bom, como já comentamos no texto anterior, estávamos na casa de uma amiga catalã, a Anna, e o plano era descansar um pouco antes de seguir viagem. Como parte desse plano, tudo aqui foi feito de forma tranquila, queríamos aproveitar a cidade, óbvio, mas com calma. Por isso fizemos um […]

It’s here!  Really it is!  After tackling the writing, and the technical challenges of publishing, the book is finally available on Amazon. Your support during the writing and now for the launch has been amazing. Here is a little snippet for you to whet the appetite: “We drove south to M’Hamid for an unquestionably touristy … <p><a href="http://www.kapp2cape-blog.net/2015/01/its-here-the-book-is-here/">Continue reading »</a></p>

It’s here, the book is here!

It’s here!  Really it is!  After tackling the writing, and the technical challenges of publishing, the book is finally available on Amazon. Your support during the writing and now for the launch has been amazing. Here is a little snippet for you to whet the appetite: “We drove south to M’Hamid for an unquestionably touristy […]

england flag vintage

Η Αργεντινή βγήκε στις αγορές

  Argentina has returned to the markets with much confidence as I see (see the photos)! I hope it can be a good example and some good inspiration for you and for Syriza’s 40-point program for rescuing Greece…   Η Αργεντινή πάντως έχει βγει δυναμικά στις αγορές όπως βλέπω (δείτε τις φωτογραφίες για να καταλάβετε)! Ελπίζω να αποτελέσει […]

Thuis 

23.614 km, 21 landen en drie continenten…. we zijn thuis! Op de video-pagina hebben we een filmpje van ruim vier minuten geplaatst waarin we hebben geprobeerd onze reis door het Afrikaanse continent samen te vatten!Geen autopech, geen lekke banden, geen enge ziektes en geen bandieten of terroristen, het was een bijna vlekkeloze en probleemloze reis. Een […]

cattle

Villahermosa

from the gulf to villahermosa. After Merida our drive dips us momentarily along the gulf coast of mexico. We talk about how much closer it seems to us to simply continue around the gulf and pull into new orleans (where we’ll be in a few months for french quarter fest) than …

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Cartagena

No dia 23/01/15 chegamos em Cartagena de Índias ou simplesmente Cartagena. Situada no norte da Colômbia, na costa caribenha, essa cidade com cerca de 1 milhão de habitantes é a quinta maior cidade colombiana e um dos mais importantes portos da Colômbia. A cidade de Cartagena foi fundada em 1533 por Pedro de Heredia e […]

<a href="http://www.tripetnomade.ch/TripetNomade/Chroniques/Entrees/2015/1/25_Un_dimanche_apres-midi_aux_Caraibes_files/IMG_1556.jpg"><img src="http://www.tripetnomade.ch/TripetNomade/Chroniques/Media/object001_2.jpg"/></a>Carthagène des Indes, Cartagena de Indias, principale ville portuaire colombienne de la Mer des Caraïbes, se remplit le dimanche après-midi de sa population qui déambule sur les remparts, qui envahit les ruelles, les places des quartiers et les plages ou qui se fait entendre de l’intérieur des habitations et des restaurants.<br />Il n’y a pas de doute, je suis bien aux Caraïbes. En pénétrant les étroites ruelles du quartier de Getsemani par une température dépassant largement les trente degrés Celsius, la musique et les rires viennent à ma rencontre. Comme d’habitude, je m’interdis de photographier les gens de près, mais ce n’est pas l’envie qui me manque. La diversité des couleurs des tenues et des peaux offre un tableau qui, avec les sons et la lumière qui se faufilent dans le dédale des ruelles et des petites place, confine au plus beau spectacle imaginable.<br />Il est bientôt quinze heures et les voix s’élèvent en ralentissant sous l’effet du cuba libre et du mojito. J’ai l’impression de passer invisible, même si j’échange un ou deux “buena tardes”. Les dominos et les pièces d’échec claquent en étant déplacés avec vigueur sur les tables de bois installées devant les entrées. Un peu plus loin une télévision crie devant une demie-douzaine d’aficionados, le match de football du dimanche après-midi vient de commencer.<br />Les enfants échappent à la surveillance de leurs parents et se rendent sur la place la plus proche où un musicien et un équilibriste argentins s’échangent les faveurs et les quelques pesos d’un public conquis d'avance. Les mères s’inquiètent de leur progéniture laissée libre et se mettent à plusieurs pour emmener les plus petits à la plage. Celle qui se situe à environ un kilomètre du port est bien protégée des vagues, plutôt fortes ce jour-là. Mais pour y parvenir, encore faut-il atteindre un des rares passages permettant de s’extraire des fortifications labyrinthiques qui séparent la ville de la mer.<br />Je longe une des murailles, en m’abritant tant bien que mal du soleil encore de plomb, et je m’élance sur une des rampes gravissant le rempart au sommet duquel déambulent des amoureux avides de grand air et quelques touristes à la recherche d’une sortie. Avec ses quelque vingt mètres, la largeur de la construction est impressionnante. Mais pas de sortie en vue. Je marche plusieurs centaines de mètres en direction opposée à celle de l’hôtel-camping où est parqué le camping-car avant de repérer un passage de voitures sous la muraille. Arrivé à sa hauteur, je me retrouve cinq mètres au-dessus, sans escalier ou rampe pour le rejoindre. Je retourne alors sur mes pas, redescends par où je suis monté et je m’approche du passage en marchant sur la route. Bon exercice et chaude marche de rentrée.<br />Le trottoir longeant le fronton de mer est recouvert de sable; ce qui m’oblige à marcher sur la route. Heureusement que la circulation dominicale est plus tranquille que celle de la semaine, mais tous les chauffeurs n’ont pas refusé la bière, le cuba libre ou le mojito proposé à midi. Il faut donc quand même faire attention. Je regrette de n’avoir pas emmené mon maillot de bain. Rentrée collante au campement.<br />Je reprends l’attente d’une bonne nouvelle du ferry annonçant qu’il accepte les camping-cars pour sa prochaine traversée. Personne ne sait pourquoi il les refuse la plupart de temps, mais pas toujours. Nous sommes plus d’une dizaine de camping-caristes bloqués à Cartagena, c’est l’occasion de s’échanger des informations utiles et des histoires rigolotes; mais nous voulons tous ardemment passer au Panama.<br />Mélanie a nettoyé pendant mon absence le camping-car du sable qui s'introduit partout avec le vent.<br />A suivre...

Un dimanche après-midi aux Caraïbes

Carthagène des Indes, Cartagena de Indias, principale ville portuaire colombienne de la Mer des Caraïbes, se remplit le dimanche après-midi de sa population qui déambule sur les remparts, qui envahit les ruelles, les places des quartiers et les plages ou qui se fait entendre de l’intérieur des habitations et des restaurants.Il n’y a pas de […]

End of 2013 we already posted about a company called Lifesaver. LIFESAVER Systems are a British Company. They serve 3 main markets: Humanitarian, Leisure & Military. Their products are shipped to all corners of the wor...

Lifesaver – working to end water poverty

End of 2013 we already posted about a company called Lifesaver. LIFESAVER Systems are a British Company. They serve 3 main markets: Humanitarian, Leisure & Military. Their products are shipped to all corners of the wor…

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