Saturday, October 29, 2011

Visit to TAM airplane museum - June 2011

One of the most interesting places I have seen in Brazil is the TAM airplane museum. . One Saturday morning we rode out to Agua vermelha, Sao Carlos which was around 250 km from Sao Paulo. It was a ride organized by the BMW club and about 20 of us rode out there on a very nice sunny day.

Here is a very cool video of the museum.

Here are the pictures from the trip and the museum.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ride to the Chocolate Farm and a Moody bike

 Waiting outside the Biker's station on Marginale.

 Isn't she beautiful?

 Look ! No crutches.
 Taking a break on one of the narrow windy roads.

 River next to the road, beautify but heavily polluted.

 Stables in the Fazenda

 Peacocks running around in the farm

Our route

So friends after almost 3 weeks of using crutches as an aftermath of an ill advised move in London. I finally got on the bike today and the wait was worth it. Woke up early on Sunday and headed over our usual meeting point on Marginale where all the bikers gather before the head out. Around 930 am four of us headed towards Itu.

It felt really strange to be on my own bike and I was feeling quite nervous initially. The route was very challenging and the road full of tight turns that closed on you quickly. I don't know if it was being off the bike for a few weeks or getting used to a different bike but I was lagging everyone but decided not to push it and take it at a speed I was comfortable with. No point being back on the crutches so soon.

Our destination was

Fazenda da Serra, also known as Chocolate Farm, was founded more than 400 years by the bandeirantes and passed through various stages of Brazilian history, it belonged to Domingues Fernandes, founder of the city of Itu. Fazenda Serra still retains its old buildings and the rich architecture of the colonial period that recall a novel scenario, your visitors have the opportunity to meet and visit the ancient senzala, where today it operates a winery and the cafeteria where meals are served to tours that visit the farm, the farm also conserves the ancient terraces of coffee that were left as inheritance of the coffee economy period the casa grande, and several houses, and in one of them still exist the belongings of the daily life of ancient Italian immigrants.

Because of the natural and architectural beauties of the farm, it was used as the setting for several novels and mini TV series and also as private commercial recording of the most diverse types of products, CD covers and calendars.

Anyway, after finishing lunch we all headed back to our bikes and headed back to SP. However, Robert's BMW refused to start. Turning the key and pressing the ignition would do nothing. After spending many frustrating minutes trying to lift his seat to find the battery and still not being able to detect the problem he decided to call his insurance company for a tow truck. We even tried to jump start the bike several times but pushing it and then starting it but it just refused to come alive.

We headed back to the restaurant and waited for an hour or so and then headed back to the bike to wait for the tow truck. Robert walked to his bike, put his key in and screamed. The bike started! Robert and his friend did a small victory dance which I wasn't able to capture on my camera but I did get a picture.

It was the weirdest thing with the bike. At the exact same time the two truck arrived but we decided to ride the bikes back to SP and just told Robert to keep it on at all times until he gets to SP. The ride back was quite uneventful and I was just happy I was back to riding again after almost 4 weeks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Days 8 & 9 - Mission Accomplished & an Unexpected "twist"

Friends, all good things must come to an end and so on Friday Sept 30, we started our journey back to London via Reims France. We started off at schedule at 8 am and as we rode down the last mountain curves I couldn't help but appreciate the beauty of the mountain made by God but the brilliance of the powerful machine made by man. Thank you BMW. You are the best.

We had a big day ahead of us riding from Andermatt to Reims (almost 570 km). Thankfully the weather was perfect and by lunch we had done almost 60% of the distance. At lunch we met an old French couple who tried talking to me first in French and the German but after I told him I only speak English and Portugese he became very excited and wished us well. The weather turned very hot after lunch and I started getting really sore and my legs started cramping a bit but we kept going. Then Vishal had a crazy ass idea. That, to make it all the way to London. I told him he was insane. That would be another 400 km and 5 hours of riding. Thankful he came to his senses. On one of our breaks a car pulled up very close to us and a shady looking Algerian guy came out stood next to us and started rolling a joint. Soon other cars started pulling up and I realized he was selling drugs at this gas station.

I quickly told Vishal to put on his helmet and move away before we got busted with them. Finally got to Reims around 6 pm and made our way to the town center. Reims is a college town and it's big attraction is the magnificent cathedral.

But vastly under rated is the number of beautiful women walking around! It is must vist for any boys trip. Unfortunately we only had a few hours and were too tired and headed back to our hotel for a good sleep.

The last day back was uneventful except we encountered crazy fog on the motorway just outside Reims which made riding a little challenging and it was quite chilly as well. Anyway soon it warmed up and we made our way to Calais where we were able to board an earlier train. This time the UK immigration did check our passports. From Folkstone UK to the bike store was around 2 hours riding but as it turned out the temperature on this day was the hottest ever recorded for London. I was about to pass out from the heat in my full motorcycle gear but I finally made it to the bike store in time to return the bike. Strangely enough I became quite attached to it in the one week I had it. Audrey had arranged a car for me to pick me up at the bike store and I was happy to make it back. End of Official bike trip but the story is not over yet!

Audrey and I planned to go for dinner at a nearby pub. We walked through the park close to her flat and as we came to the exit we realized it was already locked. There was a 5 foot metal fence and we decided instead of walking all the way back we would just climb over it. I went first and got on top of it. As I made my jump my jeans got stuck in the railing and I landed hard on my heel. I can't describe the pain I felt and had to immediately sit down. I knew instantly that something was wrong. Audrey called a taxi and we made our way to the local hospital. The ER was scary, a guy with bleeding from his head waiting to see a doctor, another guy doubled over in agony. I was sure I will never see anyone for a few hours but as I called my friends they all told me this is how healthcare works in UK so just wait it out. I finally saw a Dr who took some x rays and gave me the good news (sort of) that I didnt have any broken bones but just soft tissue damage which was going to hurt a lot and I would need crutches but it will heal on it's own. So I went 3000 km to the alps and didnt even get a scratch and within hours of being back injured my foot seriously. Lesson learned stay away from walking!

This is the end of this trip but the bug has been planted and next year itenirary includes Chile and Argentina!!!

Link to Pics