. This process of searching for accomodation took us good one and a half hours. We viewed two hostels and a bunch of various hotels with * up to *** rating. A * hotel was particularly interesting. It was run by a very old couple who, if in Cuba, could as well be members of the Buena Vista Social Club. Eventually we chose a hotel called “Royal”. It has two stars, short circuits in the electrical installation and a very good front door frame for making pull ups. I did a few ones on the more positive deeper ledge and some on the 'crimpy’ side by I had to stop as my colleagues were afraid I would cause some damage to the construction of the door :] After checking in the hotel one group including me went to OceanLink to get some information about our motorbikes and the other people went to enquire about the last piece of missing luggage and visited some motorbike shops around Montevideo. Now I could start with a good or a bad piece of the news. The good news is that we could finally take our motorbikes out of the customs and ride away into the sunset or at least go for a round in the city. The whole procedure took some time and we had several delays as I will describe later. Lucas and Adriana helped us a lot today and made it possible to finally be reunited with our steel horses (or zebras). Going back to the other group, Maciek found out that his luggage has been lost without a trace. Some say it’s been held hostage by a group of extremist Peruvian indian motorcyclists in Cuzco, some claim it was seen floating in one of the salt lakes in Bolivia, the NASA say they saw it on one of the rings of Jupiter, but noone really knows for sure
. Tired of waiting Maciek decided to take action and buy a new helmet, googles and the rest of the missing equipment for the trip. The bike shops in Montevideo are not well equipped but the number of what would have been in Europe “road-illegal” loud exhausts could meet the demand of at least half of Poland. It is now clearly apparent why a 100cc Winner or Yumbo sounds louder than a Harley. All of us gathered in OceanLink around 3pm or a bit later with helmets, documents and keys for our bikes - Maciek with his new helmet and googles for $400. When we were crossing the gate to the harbour, Maciek left his helmet unattended for a couple of minutes and it has been stolen – how unlucky?!!. We had to wait for an hour while he was reporting the theft to the police. An hour later we all met in the warehouse to take the motorbikes out on the streets, Maciek pretty much pissed off with the course of the action earlier this day. After some paperwork and fiddling with the batteries, all bikes left the building with us riding them proudly :]. We gathered on a small square and waited for Maciek and Rogal to come back with yet another, this time cheaper helmet. In the meantime I fed my Zebra with a litre of engine oil, talked to Adriana and Lucas and invited him for our farewell dinner at 9. Dima was working on his jerry can fixtures and Pretor was aggravated with me for spilling several drops of oil on a clean paved ground (as always). Then we came back to the hotel, parked the bikes overnight in a secured garage for 50 Uruguayan pesos, drank some beer and went for a lovely dinner. I forgot to mention that Maciek’s Africa Twin had some electrical issue with the fan not switching on and the engine started overheating. The “south group” went to a dinner at 9 while the other two went to repair the bike. We finished around 12 am and had a great time and learned some new things about Uruguay, carnival and food. Tomorrow we need to wake up very early, so I better take a shower and go to bed. I think I stink really badly or is it all of us?
At night Montevideo was struck by some storm – rain, wind, thunders and more rain. One of the thunders was so loud that I thought we were under artillery or even a ballistic missile attack from Argentina. Apparently there is a conflict between those two countries over an Uruguayan paper factory taking process water and discharging treated effluent to the river dividing both countries. Argentina says that the plant is polluting their waters but the factory spokesmen claim that the water discharged from their treatment plant is cleaner than the water they take in. As much as I don't like conflicts of any kind and would love the world to be like in the song of John Lennon’s "Imagine", this one brings some fresh air to the list of conflicts around the world. It’s not about gold, diamonds, crude oil or religion. It’s about the environment. However, tonight the blasts outside the window were not caused by the Argentinean army but by nature, gods or the aliens - whatever you believe in. In the morning we were looking for another hotel as the one we slept on the night before was fully booked for the next day