While i'm getting my life back together, please look at a fine selection of my photos:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Peru - Border to Lima.

Peru is definetly different. Desert, empty, large distances. I had to get used to that. This harsh, brutal environment has its charm though. It definitely gives me a more adventurous ''just me and my bike in the middle of nowhere feeling". After 15 months being on the bike enjoying this feeling still makes me feel very, very happy. Luckily it's a cold desert environment, and not as in Mexico, a bloody hot one. Less tiring. But, as said, the long distances between cool places means long riding days.

I entered Peru at the Macará bordertown. Quit and easy passing. From there to Piura, Trujiillo and Huanchaco, Huaraz and now Lima. Covert a lot of miles. I don't intent to stay long in Peru, and my rout will be the shortest from Lima, Arequipa, Puno and La Paz, Bolivia. Enjoy the pictures!

First thing i saw enterering Peru heading to Piura, the first big city after the border. Deja-vúe? Looks pretty similar to what i saw when i entered Ecuador. Piura is friendly and has lots of cheap hostels, but has little of offer to tourists.

Piura to Trujillo. Did i mention desert?? Heavy cold sidewinds from the ocean. No fun. Max. 80 km/h in fourth gear. Too much noise to enjoy music on my ipod. Almost crashed overtaking a truck, because the sudden wind right after i passed the truck almost blow me and the bike away. Scary! Woke me up though.

Seems that in this season the wind starts in the afternoon In the mornings its quit and lightly overcast. Better for driving, worse for pictures.

The Pier at Huanchaco. Chilled out beach/surfvillage just outside Trujillo. In summer it's really good surfin' 'n beachin' here. In winter it's still good, but a lot of overcast. Tranquillo.

Trujillo to Huaraz. From beach to 3600m. Beautiful road, again. But still desert....

Heading to the mountains. Yup, more desert.

Interesting. I thought it would be an easy day. Only 180kms to Huaraz. Map showed a nice yellow line from the coast to Huaraz. Secunadary and paved i thought. Not! This particular map uses orange as secundary and yellow as tertiary, unpaved roads. Bugger.

Not a particular difficult, But slow. I noticed how fast temperatures drop when on altitude. At about 4 p.m. and 3000 altitude, it gets cold!

And another view...

Oh, I found a free routable GPSmap of Peru. It proved to be very, VERY accurate. Even this unpaved road was on it. So far i think the most detaild map of everything below the US. All bigger cities are on streetlevel. Download it here

Almost there! Right lower corner: Huaraz. First view of the cordilera blanca.

Leaving Huaraz to Lima. Last view of the cordilera blanca. Impressive sight. Guess whats my desktop background!

BTW. Huaraz as a city is pleasant, but not scenic. Tourists go there usually to do hiking, climbing or even snowboarding. On a bike it's just a cool place to pass through. Lots of backpacker touristy bars and restaurants.

From the high altitudes at the cordilera blanca, you take 10 minutes of switchbacks....

...and the road straightens out to follow a river. Impressive to see how fast you cross dfferent biospheres and how dry this country is. This road goes on towards the coast for about 60km.....

....back to the coast. Heading 200kms to Lima. One of those moments you cannot do without your iPod.

At Chancay the Panam splits in two. One heading inland to Lima, for light traffic and one following the coast, also to Lima, for heavy traffic.

I thought the coastal route would be nicer. Ignoring the sighns (multiple) "No Motos"....

Which also ment heavy bikes, accoording to the policepatrol who stopped me, 3kms before the end of the road. This aparantly VERY SERIOUS traffic violation was about to cost me 400 soles (Eur.100,-)! Ouch. Paying needed to be done at the bank in the next town. As such not a problem, however, the violation was that i wasn't allowed to be on this road, the road was only for heavy traffic, which explained that there were only trucks and busses, and therefore i wasn't allowed to either drive back, or forth. Or that's what the Man said.

The officials appeared friendly guys though. After the usual "no tengo dinero", the official said that problems could be easily solved by giving him a 'propina' (means tip, but in this context bribe) of S.50,-. Way less, but still 5 gallons fuel, or 400km or 10 beers, to give you an idea. A lot of money.... and after a bit of chit-chat about my travel, Holland, more "si, es caro! no tengo dinero" and such the price dropped to S.20 soles, 4 beers that is. Didn't want to push my luck and accepted the proposal and be done with it. Drink water with my dinner for a change. Other bikers i met in Lima didn't had problems at all on this road. But be warned...

So, there it is, after 15 months on the road, about 70000km and 11 countries FINALLY my first, and hopefully last, corrupt police experience! Although i wished i could write i got away with it again. Still debating if this was a bad thing though. In other parts of the world there's no way you can get away with a traffic violation.

Oh, and i sincerely apologize to the international biketraveler community for not being more persistent in not paying.