Peru

Day 1635 Tuesday 7th April

Customs and T.I.P. No problem all done in an hour. Although the parking tout hit us with a three dollar fee for both bikes, which we had never encountered before at a border. Asking our aduana lady she said yes five soles per bike parking….

Puno was our camp for the night, a not cheap, down beat place, with hard to find hot water and harder to find local food. All on offer was burgers and pizza, I asked about frejols and arroz to no avail, none in Puno our dinner tout advised. So a set dinner with Titicaca trout and rice was a very delicious alternative.

Day 1636 Wednesday 8th April

Leaving in light rain for Cusco we filled up and discovered that the fuel was sold in U.S. gallons and not litres so the gas was still sold for one dollar a litre, more or less. That was a welcome relief as I mused it may be three bucks a litre.

The rain got a heap worse and when we rode into the dive of a town called Juliaca, the streets were awash. The once tar road through it looked long gone, we bounced over rocks running with liquid mud, some drain covers gone too.

A few bikes and some vehicles stuck with a wheel dropped into the half metre square hole, the hectic hooting traffic showing no mercy to the hapless riders and fellow drivers. We sloshed our way through, avoiding the muddy water that might hide a horrendous hole of horror! Out side of town we stopped at a gas station to put on waterproofs, within twenty minuets our dry floor haven had filled to a depth of fifty mill of red slurry. Riding out into the hail did its best to dampen my spirits, and did a fair job. A few hours later we had topped the four thousand three hundred and thirty eight meters mountains. The snow covered peaks looking only a short hike above us. The cloud had wrapped around us with seven degree ambient temperatures and chilled me like an English winter. We passed a train gliding tourists through the splendid Peruvian mountain scape, in the warmth. As I gazed in on them supping glasses of beer and wine, some hands wrapped around steaming cups of tea and coffee. I felt very chilly. The tables covered with white clothes and cute lamps giving off a warm yellow light, I felt very outside!

Seeming to drop like a rock down the winding road we were soon riding through a beautiful green mountain scenery with a bubbling shallow river fed by many tributaries rushing over the stony beds. The pale sunshine warming our cold bones, a welcome relief. Stopping in a small town for gas we failed to get a coffee and carried on. Soon we met the train, now looking at the fellow wanderers I felt the better off, riding my bike in the sunshine, swooping curves taking me through wooded land scapes and falling water, over spindly bridges spanning small but deep river gorges.

Watching the local men and women hard at work, cutting the corn stalks for the cobs and reeds for thatching, made one feel lazy sat on a fat bike riding the hills and not having to work this week, or the next. It seamed the local boys transported the stalks up the hill by bicycle where they were stacked for drying. No mean feat considering the altitude and incline of the road.

Arriving at night fall in Cusco, a heap later than anticipated we just managed to find our backpacker before dark. But they did not want our Soles or our bikes, the web advertisement was wildly inaccurate, the bike parking was pushing them off the street into the foyer at eleven PM and out again at five AM. That’s ok but as the kerb was two hundred mill high and two more steps beyond that, we knew our heavy bikes were a no go. So Diane went off and found some place with parking.

Finding Incaclub hostel we were soon supping a beer on a soft couch, unfortunately with our bikes out in the open to be rained upon most of the night. The only beds available were in a dorm so hitting the sack at eight PM we slept but waited for the clubber’s to arrive at some un-Godly hour of the morning. And sure enough they did, farting, coughing, snoring and pissing louder and longer than necessary.

Day 1637 Thursday 9th April

Walking the old town in the rain looking for another advertised backpackers that offered heaters and better parking, the holy grail proved to be elusive. Up and down the steep smooth cobbled street we saw no sign of a suitable gateway or even a doorway get get a bike through.

Giving up and being content with our current home we wandered the streets, passing many fine old churches and museums. Finding great local food in the San Pedro market. We vowed to return for an early supper. At four we returned to find them packing up and showing no interest in us at all. Carry out Pizza then…..

Day 1638 Friday 10th April

Took the plunge and booked our Machupicchu tour for tomorrow, come rain or shine.

Day 1639 Saturday 11th April

Woke at three A.M. with the alarm and was waiting on the kerb thirty minutes later for our micro bus to take us to the train station sixty km away. Being driven through the hectic traffic of night clubbers finding their way home I realised how large a city Cusco was. Sleep over come me as we picked up fellow tourists from countless cobbled streets and blind alleys.

Sixty km later we were bundled onto a rail platform in the rain where we boarded the train. The rail followed the river through steep sided mountains covered with vegetation.

The town of Aguas Calientes sat at the foot of the mountains with the river and rail line running through. It was strange to see the large locomotives delivering everything the town needed like a truck would. The huge cargo cars taking the place of box vans. Not so good was the vast plumes of black smoke that issued from the stack as the engine laboured up the incline out of town.

We took a smart new mini bus to the entrance to the site where our guide took us through the short winding path past stone buildings, round a corner the whole area opened out in front of us. It looked just as I thought it would.

(The pyramids in Egypt took me by surprise.) Our two hour tour passed quickly and after a couple more hours wandering the ruins we headed back to town.

Day 1640 Sunday 12th April

Had slow day after our twenty hour day yesterday, posted some souvenirs and gifts back to UK and Australia. Found frejoles y arroz at the wonderful San Pedro market. What was a little of a culture shock was watching the guys unloading the carcasses from a truck as we left. The vehicle was parked on a slope and the water diluted blood was running out the truck and down the gutter, some cow heads lay on the side walk where they had rolled out of the truck. Later we saw the piles of hoofs, heads and noses waiting to be boiled in huge pots for broth. Enough said!

Day 1641 Monday 13th April

Day 1642 Tuesday 14th April

Left Cusco on the main road which was under extreme maintenance, it was like a motocross track on a wet day. Huge puddles and a few more missing drain covers the size of a truck wheel kept us alert.

We back tracked to Sicuani where we filled up the bikes and took a fantastic mountain road to Espinar. The smooth tar road clung to the side of the rock and twisted its way through the mountains. A few times it opened out into vast grassed glacial valleys. This utopia ended at town. Getting into town was easy, but out as most times getting out was more challenging. We had a couple of unguided tours around the back streets devoid of obvious inhabitance, a few failed attempts that ended at muddy paths heading out beyond the black stump. An hour or so later we were in the thick of traffic heading out of town on the right road. Unfortunately two policemen told us we were going the wrong way on a one way street. That threw us off course completely, getting horribly lost again. Asking a group of a dozen or so guys leaning on a semi trailer they pointed us the way, down a muddy track, either it was correct, or they were having a laugh. We had never been told a wrong direction before so we went for it. Thankfully it was correct and we bounced our way to the tar road ten km distant. Not being keen on off road-ing I was glad to be back on asphalt, the road took a sharp right turn toward the ‘airport’, (a runway with sheep grazing the stubble that grew on it, yes it was a fully functional runway for commercial air traffic), a dirt road carried straight on. Diane checked our route, the tar road was wrong the dirt road was correct. So we headed up the dirt road, so much for not wanting to ride the rough!

Our skies ahead were getting dark with rain, forks of lightning were coming to ground in the hills around us and it was also getting late. There was no suitable camping place for our tent which now has a not waterproof floor, the surrounding land was very marshy with standing water. A few km later saw us by a river bank, dumbly wondering what to do when a local guy on a two hundred c.c. dirt bike rode through it from the other bank, effortlessly. The water was half a meter deep over loose shale then at the centre largish round rocks, smooth and water worn. Never having to cross rivers before we set out with much trepidation. Diane went through ok, but I was slower and had to put a foot down, filling my boot. At least the sun would help to dry it a little. Fifteen km later we arrived at an un-named town where the road split, at a small stone bridge. We thought about camping here as the ground was dryer. Until I saw an old farm house for sale at the road side, with a barn large enough for two bikes and a tent, so we moved in, assuming, as it looked deserted no one would mind. We tried to support the local community by buying veggies for supper but they only cost the equivalent to one dollar…

As we cooked in the failing light we watched the hills being lit up by the storm, rain rattling the tin roof safe in the knowledge our tent would not take a beating this night. Bikes and us undercover and dry. In the pitch black night the town across the river was totally dark by eight pm. We felt a very long way from anywhere!

I was startled awake by a flash light and voices calling “hola”, getting out of the tent with caution but no shotgun, I came face to face with the owner of the barn who thankfully smiled and shook my hand and not my throat. He said it was good we had used his barn on such a wet night and he would see us in the morning. There are so many kind people in this world, it never ceases to amaze me.

Day 1643 Wednesday 15th April

We were almost packed and eating our porridge when the owner showed up, I offered him money for the shelter and he looked me in the eye and said a firm no! We shook hands and he left us.

Noticing all the heavy traffic was taking the road across the river we asked and was told that was the road, not the one we were going to take.

So we headed off, we passed through amazing country side, vertical canyon like walls hundreds of meters high flanked our road, the river that carved them running with us at our left side. The steep rock walls giving way to open green valleys only to hem us in another beautiful canyon later. It is roads like this that only can be fully enjoyed by riding them in my opinion, smelling the flowers, clean mountain air even the damp ground, it fills the senses to the maximum.

The downside is that when the fords and rivers have to be crossed it’s down to the rider to keep the balance against the forces of nature. This day we crossed many tens of streams and boggy passes where the trucks had churned the mud and rain to slurry. The five river crossings took their toll on us, each one we had to look at and even walk to see where was the better place in which to pass. So much for me worrying about my wet foot and boot yesterday, now both were well and truly sodden. Ah well at least the sun shone and eventually they would be dry again. The last crossing was the worst, probably because we were tired and worn out. By the end of day we would have covered ninety clicks, averaging fourteen km per hour over the day. The track was very rocky which meant bouncing over the terrain slowly to minimise damage when we fell. Which Diane held the record for, twice, at river fordings, me? Once. Luckily we suffered no damage to bike or self.

Arriving at the end of the track we rode five hundred meters down in altitude via countless hair clip bends on the worst surface of the whole day. The way was heavily potholed as well as rocky, the ground torn up by the trucks and trailers grinding their way.

Sibayo was a small place with two pension houses, at on we managed to get shelter for the bikes and a bed for us, even though I had asked to pitch the tent. We both slept well after a light feed.

Day 1644 Thursday 16th April

Getting out early made for a cold start, just off zero. Diane’s bike was a no starter. Our jump leads and a passing micro bus battery soon had us riding off to Chivay, a lovely small town with hot coffee, local market and a Plazza I could grow old in.

The ladies sat selling their pastries from small hand carts. What made us smile was when they were not selling they seamed to be eating them. The continent over, we saw it a lot.

While Diane checked the road to Colca Canyon I emptied my left hand pannier of a litre and a half of river water and dried the contents on the side walk, much to the amusement of the elderly folks sat taking in the sunshine.

By eleven we were riding out to Cabanaconde, a small town described by footprint guides as “a ramshackle bundle of shanty buildings”. We found a quiet town making a living from the few tourists that both to come and growing their food in the valley. Spotting an ideal place to camp on the way in we headed back to set up our gear. Not really being given (read not at all) the right to sleep in the canyon we waited till dusk. In the morning we would be ideally placed to watch the condors feeding, not to mention watching the sun set in beautiful surroundings, clean mountain air and the small birds not sleeping much but chirping in the night, the sky filled with stars and a large smudge of the milky way.

Day 1645 Friday 17th April

Riding back to Chivay hot termas to surreptitiously wash some of our stinky gear and soak out the river dirt from our skin. The scalding water came out of the ground into holding tanks where it cooled before running into the five swimming size pools where you can steep in hot sulphur water. Leaving this small slice of paradise after close to two hours we headed off to Arequipa. Once again the ride was idyllic, over the highest point of our journey yet, five thousand one hundred meters. I joked with Diane we would know when we were there as the ladies from town will be selling hats and table cloths.

Bugger me they were too, just five hundred meters from the Witch of the Peak.

While we munched on onion rolls the micro buses came and gave the tourists ten minutes to spend their dollars and leave, it was amusing to watch. We were glad to be free of the buses and have our time as we wanted, not a time schedule. About a quarter of the people we saw up their took pictures of our bikes, we don’t mind at all, pleased they took the time to notice and stop for five minutes. In Africa when we wanted to take a photo of someone or something a person would often say “one dollar, one Euro”! So I may put a donation can on the front of my bike saying ‘small coins for gasalina por favor’.

Riding on to Arequipa we soon left the mountain paradise for big city hell, the vehicles and masses of people, dogs and stink made me not want to stop. As it was late we asked at a great looking pub if we could camp in the car park, a great piece of grass next to a corn field, but no was the reply. So we headed even further out of town, finding a truck operator with a restaurant we asked again, he was not keen but his wife said yes. So we pitched the tent on the rocky yard, ate fried chicken and fries and slept sound. But for the dogs that lived on the roof, barking at passers by. Yes lived on the roof, albeit a flat roof, not pitched, that would be cruel….

Day 1646 Saturday 18th April

Once again we on the road early, eager to leave the hectic mess of the city behind. More mountain riding switchback road but now always lower in altitude, two hours saw us back at the Pacific Ocean once again. The town of Camana was an anticlimax so after breakfast there we headed to a fishing town called Chala where after seven hours we had bikes parked undercover behind locked doors and a hot shower and cold beer.

The boats were selling fish the size of that would feed an army so we settled for fried fish and spuds from a cafe selling to the truckies, as the posh tourist ones had shut due to lack of trade.

Day 1647 Sunday 19th April

Curious as to the cost of the fish we ventured to the quay to suss it out. It seemed all the fish were the same breed, blue in colour and quite sturdy, we picked a smaller one at two and half kilos. A price agreed we headed off to the ocean to gut it, a bit of feed for the birds. Diane made a great tomato and spud dish while I tried fillet and fry our fish. It was wonderful, and a heap left for fish curry tomorrow.

Some of the local ladies were possibly in their Sunday best, looking similar to the ladies in the mountains looking after the lamas and sheep. The big shock for me seeing those tending their stock was as they herded their animals in the middle of nowhere, at four thousand metres often they had a cellular phone at their ear….

Day 1648 Monday 20th April

Deciding to stay another night to eat our fish and hopefully clean our bikes, (still), we walked the four km to the gas station where the pressure washer was, only to find it did not have much pressure and we could not use it ourselves and it was expensive in our mind. Given we had both just eaten rice beans and spaghetti for one U.S. dollar each.

Day 1649 Tuesday 21st April

Rode more stunning mountain roads that dropped back to the ocean, often the spray or mist would cover the beach, the road and cling a hundred or so metres up the rocky mountain side.

We arrived at Nasca Lines and was promptly pulled over by the police! No problem, they just wanted to tell us the best way to take a flight over the old lines and the most we should pay. More nice guys!

So off to the airport and half an hour later we were airborne. I have been flying in small aircraft a great number of times, with my brother and a few friends but never like this. The pilot dipped the wing down so both sides of the plane could see the ground clearly, for every inscription on the ground, so lots of three sixty turns and steep banking. Great fun if your flying but it made us both feel ill. The experience of seeing the lines was great but I would not go up again.

We camped across the road from the airport at a hostel plagued by sand flies and mosquitoes, run by a delightfully eccentric older lady from Switzerland.

Day 1650 Wednesday 22nd April

We made tracks to Pisco full of high hopes that it would be another Charla but it failed in our estimates. After buying food and getting lost, we headed out to an average camp site that wanted five US dollars to jump in the pool, each!

Day 1651 Thursday 23th April

Leaving our disappointment of Pisco behind we made an early departure for the big city of Lima. I would have bypassed the whole hooting messy traffic hell but the Honda needed rear brake pads, so needs must. Also the camera battery has failed, Diane’s I pad screen got broke and the cell phone battery is not charging as it should! So Lima here we come.

Finding an easier way out of the camping ground involved a small bridge over a stream, the bridge was almost a semi circle in shape it was so ‘humped’. The slats were not that thick and I imagined that having to ride onto it fairly quick they may break as I hit them, my bike and I ending up with the small brown fish that lived there. Fret not, the slats held for us both and soon we were riding the highway north once more in the cool ocean mist that smelt heavily of salt and sea kelp, bliss.

Lima suburbs started to appear forty km out, small townships made out of what ever people could find, the same the world over I guess.

We had GPS co-ordinates for a shop that sold bike accessories specialising in overland travel. The lady said she could help find the parts, we were at their door at ten am. After many phone calls, a couple of taxi cab rides and a lot of walking trying to find a bed for the night, I fitted the pads, six hours later.

The cab rides were an experience, riding the traffic one could keep a distance from the worst of it. These guys, because time is money, threw themselves into the thick of it. Some of the near missed we had were almost beyond belief, how these vehicles do this every day without noticeable collisions is staggering.

The lady who found us bake pads directed us to a hostel one hundred meters away with secure parking. It looked like an old monastery or convent, all single beds which had a wooded cross high on the wall above the head board. The place was a labyrinth of stone steps, passages, small doorways and iron spiral staircases that led up to ancient wobbly stonework walkways with no hand railing, only a drop to the ground far below.

Walking a few of the surrounding streets looking for a laundry, we saw workshops with earth floors that carried out everything from cable stripping, vehicle maintenance and manufacturing of anything you may need, by men in grubby clothes and scuffed shoes. In between these oily, dirty places were small slices of cleanliness and beauty. Small dark skinned ladies in dazzling white uniforms selling cakes, breads and flowers, all attractively laid out in shining glass display cabinets.

We were slightly shocked to see four metre high walls with electric fences, small shops with bars that the customers had to call through to be served, their goods passed only once the money had exchanged hands. Very similar to South Africa.

Ivan at the accessory shop had recommended a huge mall that sold everything electrical, there we would find batteries.

That evening as Diane took a shower she had to turn the flow of water up. The taps were strangely bound in electrical insulation tape, she found out why. The water heater as normal was earthed through the pipes, as the heater was faulty residual current was going to earth so giving her a fair shock. Lesson here in south American wiring.

Day 1652 Friday 24th April

Taking a cab as we had no idea where we going seemed like a good idea. The mall appeared as a very blue building in contrast to the glass high rises all around us. We duly found said batteries within half an hour. Daine’s lap top also could be repaired here! So we cabbed it back and forth and our man duly fitted a new screen in the hour he said he would.

We had been told by a friend in the UK that it may not be repairable and it would most certainly have go back to Apple, so big result. With repairs done successfully we headed back to our convent.

Day 1653 Saturday 25th April

Slow day at the convent writing diaries and watching a couple of movies recovering from the hectic yesterday spent in Peruvian ‘bound for hell cabs’.

Day 1654 Sunday 26th April

Getting on the road early was a boon to get out of the city, if only as far as a mall where the Lima Hard Rock Cafe resides. We thought it would take an hour or so to get there but thirty minutes saw us waiting for the store to open. Required shirt bought we headed out into now mid Sunday morning hell, the traffic had quadrupled and it took an hour to find the Pan Americana and clear the sprawling mess of northern Lima.

On the right hand side of the highway an old adobe fort sat high up on a hill side, about out side of sixty km south of Huaral. They were widening the road from two to four lane. As the lower of the three surrounding fortified walls was close to where they were working I hope that they spared the ancient looking monument from destruction.

By mid afternoon the memory of Lima’s traffic lay two hundred or so km behind us, we found a very quiet camp in an building site near the ocean. We chose a new build of four walls and nothing else, so we had peace and shelter from the steady on shore blow.

Day 1655 Monday 27th April

Riding through more dramatic mountain meets ocean scenery I still could not believe the colours. On my right the underlying rock was chocolate brown, golden yellow and bronze. This random pattern had wind blown white sand from the beach on the left of the road deposited over it. Creating humps and hollows with shadows causing more contrast in the colours.

On the road we saw a few other bikers looking very loaded and heavy, although we carry a fair bit of gear we don’t look as heavy as they did, what do the carry? On guy in the past had a football…..

We covered a few more hundred clicks before finding an amazingly noisy camp in an abandoned gas servo. It was all we normally desire, clean, flat and undercover, but only fifteen meters from the highway meant little easy sleep was enjoyed.

Day 1656 Tuesday 28th April

Trujillo was only eighty clicks away and a small mall gave us breakfast but no tea or coffee as it was too early!!!! While Diane searched in vain I bleed my rear brake (again). I was soon blessed with four very ‘keen on the trip’ guys whom asked a heap of questions. They were two pair of friends, one of each could talk a little of English and with my no Spanish we had a great half an hour.

An hour later, failing to find hostel we could afford we were about to head out of town and find a free beach camp. Unfortunately ditching our day in the small town of much beauty. A few more laps riding around in ever decreasing circles and we found a small cheap hostel and managed to spend the day in town after all.

We jumped on a micro bus, showing the driver our piece of paper with the museum name on it, he smiled and said ok. We rattled and hooted our way through street markets selling everything, then strangely we were passing truck sales showrooms, repair shops with guys working on engine rebuilds in the street. We had left the city. Asking again our man said all was “ok, wait wait”. Soon the bus stopped and we were told “here, here”, looking at a school we thought no, but got off as the pair of them seemed to have no clue as to our museum whereabouts. Another bus took us back and we were given direction and the ride back for free. Maybe this guy guess what had occurred. The museum was well worth the effort and our five km walk back was interrupted with a stop off a Pizza Hut of all places where we had feed of pizza that was identical to the UK Pizza Hut, yum!

Day 1657 Wednesday 29th April

Leaving Trujillo was blissfully easy as the hostel was two hundred metres from the highway. Turning left and heading north into a wonderfully refreshing ocean mist that smelt heavily of salt. The greeny grey ocean dumped huge rollers on the beach with a white water crash. The road hugged the shore line for thirty or so clicks then turned inland where the road was flanked by endless rice fields. The lush greens of the leaves were dotted with colour of some poor sole breaking their back tending to the crop. This vegetation gave way to a sterile desert. Thirty km out of Chiclayo the isolation was deemed ok to be used as a dumping ground for the city garbage. Hectors of filth had been tipped out of trucks, leaving twenty ton piles as far as my eye could see. There were many small fires burning, letting their toxic smelling smoke blow across the highway. I could see people climbing over the piles looking I guess for gems they could sell. Why they lit the fires God only knows, not for warmth that’s for sure. Ten km on, the dump had given way to a small new housing project, six rows of fifty dwellings stretched back from the road at ninety degrees, toward the ocean. The advertising board showed the ‘perfect’ Peruvian family, husband and smiling wife, he looking at her, she looking to the camera, (as always). An older son, younger daughter and a golden retriever looking with envy at a manicured lawn with a white picket fence. The latter would have to keep out other dogs, and the many plastic bags that would get blown from the toxic waste dump a few km distant. For Peruvians they all looked very pale skinned… I sincerely hope the project works, then maybe they will stop the dumping, or sadly dump elsewhere?

Filling up the fuel tanks and the twenty litre container we left Chiclayo’s hectic streets behind for the blistering, shimmering heat of the Sechura desert.

On the outskirts of town we passed another wonderful market of fruit, fish and veg, all laid out with care and attention to detail. You would love to have one of these in your village!

At first the desert was sand dunes and rocky hills to every horizon, the white sand reflecting the sun to burn our lotion covered faces. For more than a hundred clicks the road vanished to the non distinct line between ground and sky, a shimmering heat haze. The oncoming trucks appeared out of it like pale grey vibrating rectangles.

Wanting to take a westerly route from the Pan Americana to the ocean as camping might be easier. Eventually our turn, which I though may be dirt, came into view. I was delighted to see smooth tar heading out into the vanishing point. A small truck ahead of us raced out into the nothingness. Five kay”s later it was very bumpy, then narrowed into single lane then turned to sand. The truck in front of us bounced its way like a small boat in a choppy sea, it looked pale grey against the dazzling white of the desert engulfing it. Not our mug of tea, also the map showed a few water crossings, while the ones in the mountains were achievable these ones were salt water. Not wishing to lay my bike down in sandy ocean water we turned back to route one norte.

Gradually small shrubs then trees appeared which gradually gave shade for grass. As the town started it looked quite green!

Around mid afternoon we were looking for a camp ground. Checking out many but not finding one we eventually got to Catacaos. While Diane roamed the small town to find a bed I watched a few humming birds looking for supper in the trees at the Plazza. As night fell we were parking the bikes, close call.

After a wash we hit town and found a great eatery full of locals where we had fried chicken, (!) fish and rice.

Day 1658 Thursday 30th April

After stringing up a laundry line in the room and cleaning our soot blackened visors from the trucks and smoky cars, we walked the town looking for breakfast. Tried to pay too much for bread, but the lady would have none of it and gave us our money back. Another did the same when we bought some supplies. I don’t know how the travel writers for the guide books travel, they always say look out for the thieves and cheating stall owners. We have only found honesty and friendliness from all the folks we have dealt with. The lady selling bread for example, we wanted four rolls, she said she sold them a half dozen for one Soles. She could have sold four for one but she said no you have six. How honest?????

Day 1659 Friday 1st May

Shortly after filling the fuel tanks we were stopped by the Police as we left town. This was the first time we had unexpected dealings with the law Being a little apprehensive as the one man and three woman team approached us, all armed. Our fears evaporated in the early morning heat and by the big smiles that the friendly four gave us. They were keen to find out where we were from, and what our thoughts of Peru were. Photos were taken, after they asked permission, wanting to assume they could! For a good twenty minutes we chatted with them and only after making sure we were on the right road did they shake our hands and depart our company.

Our turn off from the Pan Americana to the Ecuadorian border saw a very marked change in the life style of the locals. Gone were the nice painted house and smart vehicles and in were rough adobe huts, reed roofs and donkeys doing the people and produce moving. One large-ish town we went through the tar ended as the houses started and I only saw one car and no tuk-tuks. As we left, the stony dusty mud road gave way to tar again.

Also the desert had well and truly gone, the difference from yesterday was staggering, we now had warm air not nostril burning furnace type air, bright leafy green trees and bananas galore growing by the road side. The air smelt of growing things and damp earth. The surrounding mountains were covered with thick vegetation.

At Macara we cleared frontier formalities in an hour and a half. The officers being very exact with the forms concerning entering the country and the T.I.P. for the bikes. Then easily and suddenly were out of Peru and into Ecuador.

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