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

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Peru - Lima to Bolivia - Copacabana

Lima. Is there any reason to be there? I almost didn't found it if i wasn't for Juan, brother of my friend Ansreas' wife.
One night he took me around town and my conclusion is: the only beautiful part is Baranco. Oh, And maybe the beach area.

From Lima i took the fast road to Arequipa, Puno, Copacabana and La Paz. Not eventful. I've been to this part of Peru in 2006 and thus seen all the cool stuff. These pictures are here.

Meet the Grahams. Met these guys in Lima. Graham Jr. 22 years old, old DR650, did the trans-america trail and decided to continue through central and south america. Good decision! He met Graham Sr. 60 years old on his DRZ400 in Granada, Guatamala  (i think) and drove down from there in 2 months (fast!). Weird, in total i know three Grahams from the UK traveling on a bike, and one Graham on a bicycle. Anyway, we drove together till Ica. Where the DR650 started  pissing oil from the primary drive shaft seal. I convinced them to try to fix it here at the oasis just outside Ica. Knowing from my previous trip in Peru that Ica is a dunebuggy center. These buggies brake down frequently , so lots of repairshops and mechanics around, and therefore parts. This assumption turned out to be correct. Luckily.

The Panam through Peru is long and boring. Although for me the boring part wasn't that bad. Good roads, little traffic, cool views.

Not too bad if you want to cover distance fast. You have to actually, because there's not much to do between the regular tourist places, which are far apart.

Plaza del Armas, Arequipa. Beautiful city, so far the best in Peru i guess. I spend a few days enjoing Arequipa and one of it's exquisite female inhabitants. Te amo Pilar! Fue un placer conocerte!

Met the 3th Graham on a bike in Café Las Brujas (the wiches) by coincidence. Talking with a peruvian novelista this Graham walked in. Last time i saw him was long long long ago on Vancouver Island. We sort of keep the same pace, but managed to avoid each other till now. 

It was fun cathing up with him. He's hilarious. I strongly suggest to check out his website.  And read why you shouldn't go with a BMW...

The fast lane to Bolivia. Desert scenery starts wearing off actually.

Lago Titicaca. Really impressive.

It's a big pond... 204x65km!!


From Puno the closest bordercrossing is at Yunguyo. Again a pleasant noneventful exercise. After the official  immigration and douana formalities i was pointed to an office with some military guys. A guy wrote my name and vehicle info in a book and asked me for a voluntary contribution! Huh?  No way José. It's voluntairy right?! Bienvenidos a Bolivia. Poor guy, he asked it sort of embarrassed actually, probably his commandante ordered to do so. And he came after me when i was about to leave................handing me a flyer of a nice hotel in Copcabana. Friendly folks.

I didn't change money at the border (forgot, again, check the exchange rate) and did so at a restaurant in Copacabana, the first Bolivian town after this border.  After a lot of hard barganing i got a good enough price for my leftover Peruvian Pesos at a restaurant. But... the guy tried to fool me by giving 5 Bolivianos less than agreed. Bienvenidos a Bolivia II. My first hour in Bolivia didn't gave me a good first impression. Hope this changes...

Copacabana beach. The one real beach town in Bolivia since they lost the war with Chile in the war of the pacific (GUERRA DEL PACÍFICO - 1879-83) loosing the current part of Chile between 23th and 26th parallel. If your interested: read it all here.

Copacabana is a fun place to hang out. Nice bars and restaurants, Sunny, Pretty views and relatively inexpensive.

David from Santiago, Chili, and his 1983-ish Landrover. Traveling around Chili, Argentina and Peru. Nice guy, very knowledgeable about Bolivia.

Interesting: he personaly transplanted an Hyunday diesel engine in his Landrover. Took him a year to figure it all out.

Remarcable. David and his friend drew a map of Salar de Uyuni. At first i thought the altitude messed with my head, the map they drew didn't resamble the one in my head. Turned out that on this hemisphere people use south as being 'up'!!! Make sense south-pole is closer for these guys. Something to keep in mind... Hope left and right is the still the same though.

I write this post from La Paz, the busy high altitude capital of Bolivia. Mainly for bike maintainance and waiting  for a package to arrive from Holland. The last few days i run in to some interesting people and places which makes it easy to spend time here.
From what i heard from people around here, shipping a packagefrom europe can take 3 weeks easily. The bike part is dealt with, and right know i'm trying to draw up a plan for Bolivia and the last (long) stretch to Chile. Money's running out, and still got at least 4 months to go. Seems long but in my mind i have the feeling it's "already" coming to an end, stupid isn't it?

Anyway. Tomorrow it's time to do THE DEATH ROAD! The main attraction around here, it seems noticing the 100's of advertisements of mountainbike rental shops. I figured that its better to not have to deal with them on this road and decided to to leave after the mountainbike rush and go in the same direction.

Will post a message when i'm back. I met Graham III today and we'll do the trip together. He's got a video camera, so expect to see some footage of me plodding around this road soon.

Civilisation sure comes to an end around here if you take internet bandwidth as a measure, it's a struggle to upload pics. So there's not much of Bolivia on my site yet.

But all pictures of Peru can be seen here