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Huacachina is one of those places I heard about on the road. Had I not been told, I would have missed one of the funnest places in Peru. Huacachina is an oasis, a lagoon surrounded by sand dunes. You can take rides in sand buggies up and down the dunes. Like a roller coaster ride. Loved it.

Huacachina:

Sand Buggy:

I hung out with two kiwis, Kat & Louis.

I tried sand boarding as well. Ok, not really sand boarding rather sand sledding. I’ve never snow boarded before, and the people who have said that sand boarding is completely different from snow boarding. I saw no one successfully do it. The sand just gives way and doesn’t let the board cut in like snow. So I just layed on the board and shot down the dune. Good fun.

I wanted to make Cusco for New Years so I hit the road for Nazca right after.

First glimpse of the Nazca lines:

Tomorrow Ill take an airplane ride to check them out from above.

And one last desert highway shot just for the hell of it:

H


Next morning it was on to Lima, Peru’s largest city and through more endless desert.

However, things became more interesting as we got closer to Lima. The number of cops on the side off the roads increased ten fold. We got stopped five times for speeding and illegal passing. Fortunately, Chris is completely fluent in Spanish and got us out of all five tickets. In one case, he even got the cops to apologize for stopping us in the first place. Very impressed.

This would be my first Christmas away from home. Im a bit sentimental so I wanted to stay at a nice small family run hostel where I’d hopefully find a nice group of people to hang with on Christmas eve. (Yes, behind this tough moto exterior, I have a soft side.) So I busted out the lonely planet and found one that seemed to meet the description.

We made it to Lima, and instead of my usual method of hailing a cab and following, Chris figured he could find the hostel. After asking countless directions, stopping to let my over heating bike cool twice, and roughly two hours later of fighting relentless traffic, we did eventually find the hostel we were looking for. Sorry but the cab trick still works best.

The hostel was a great little family run place. They cooked everyone staying there a really nice Christmas dinner. It was exactly what I was looking for. We all stayed up late in to the evening telling tall tales of our adventures. It was the next best thing to not being back at home with family.

I ended up staying here for about four days. I was going to leave earlier but was told that a spiritual healer was coming over and may be able to help me with my bad ticker. So I figured what the hell, what do I have to lose?

The spiritual healer gave me a private session up stairs on the roof patio. She asked me if I believed in God, and had me read the ten commandments out load. However, I think the translation to English was a bit off, because at one point it said feel free to kill your neighbor. Damn, this is one tough god.

Next came a lot of hand and facial gesturing as she read my body and spoke with god in the spiritual world. Turns out my heart is ok, I just have bad blood and need to lay off the french fries. Fortunately for me there is a cure. First came a body cleansing with water. The water never actually touched me, but it was still able to absorb the nasties out of my blood. Next came an olive oil treatment. I was given some to drink, and than the rest was poured over my head and rubbed on to my chest. I wasn’t suppose to bathe for at least a day as the oil did its work. Than it was time to take some medicine. I was given invisible pills that I swallowed down. Finally she gave me a list of teas and herbal medicines I should take over the next four months. A bit difficult to do from the road, but will follow the regiment when Im back at home.

Afterward I actually felt a bit better. Nothing like hanging with the spirits and all oiled up. I figured Id better cover all my bases, so I bought three offerings to be burned at an altar on the following weekend. Now Im well on my way to being 100% Hallelujah!

I was told to check out this web site:

http://aeminpu.tripod.com/

And this footage to get an idea of what is to become of my offerings:

I took off that same day still all oiled up and headed south toward Huacachina.

Sorry but no pics in this episode. I noticed my small camera was missing shortly after leaving Lima. Not too upset as the memories from this place will be etched in my mind forever. Unforgettable.

H


After Chan Chan, Chris and I continued through endless desert. There really wasn’t much to photograph. The weather was overcast and everything was gray.

I tend to relax on long hauls and ride pretty slow. Chris on the other hand is an ex-motorcycle racer. He kept me moving at a good pace through terrain that didn’t change much.

Leo recommended that we spend the night in Tortugas, a small fishing village off the beaten path.

Secure parking:

Guarded by this guy:

Taking a shower that night, I was attacked by cockroaches. They came out of the shower drain. Huge ones. Not too pleasant to be naked and have roaches scamper across your feet. Fortunatly I had my boot right next to the shower and death was administered quickly. Despite that, it was a good call to stop here. Nice pleasant little town.

H


First thing in the morning today, I ran in to Chris on a Suzuki DR650 heading south as well. We were both going in the same direction so we decided to ride together for a bit.

Peru is a lot more deserty than I thought it would be. Sand dunes covered a lot of the area. It was also really surprising to see crops being grown in the desert sand. I didn’t think that was possible.

We stopped in Trujillo to fix a problem with Chris’s kick stand. I pulled out my tools to lend a hand, and in the process a small crowd gathered. I wasn’t paying too much attention and had my goggles stolen off my bike. Damn it. My fault should have put them in the tank bag. People started telling us that the police had called and requested that we leave the area. It was too dangerous to be hanging out here. Despite getting my goggles stolen, it seemed safe enough too me, but we heeded the advice and moved on.

We ended up next door in Huanchaco, a small touristy beach community just outside of Trujillo. Chris is a vegan, and we stopped quite be accident in front of a vegetarian restaurant. After lunch and a few beers, we found out the place had some rooms for rent. They seemed to have everything we needed so we decided to simply spend the night here.

We met Leo here who volunteered to show us the Chan Chan ruins the next day. So the next morning we headed out. Chan Chan is the largest pre-Colombian city in South America.

Fishing was very big here. Note the fish designs and netting shaped walls.

Still excavating away:

Some of the ruins are smack in the middle of Trujillo. They didn’t know they existed until they found ancient pottery while digging home foundations. Roland said he used to ride his bike up and down this ramp back when they still thought it was simply a hill.

View from the ruin site:

Next it was on to Trujillo’s main square.

New rule: Get too close to my bike, I take your picture:

Afterward we bought Leo lunch at a Peruvian restaurant of his choosing. They had this sweet juice made from boiling corn. It was really good, but I forget the name. All in all it was a great little tour Leo took us on. Good times.

H


So far Peru has been pure desert. The road between Mancora and Pimentel winds its way through vast expanses of nothingness only broken up by plastic garbage hanging from shrubbery. Tiny huts dot the area as well. Little thatched homes that provide nothing more than protection from the desert winds. I guess it never really rains here.

The road started out pretty nice:

But became increasingly straight and desolate.

After battling strong cross winds, I ended up in Pimentel, a small coastal town right next to Chiclayo. The tour guide book said that this was a big time beach destination for Peruvians during the summer season. However, it seemed to be the off season. The place was almost deserted.

This pier was the only thing of interest in this town:

The moment I showed up here, they shut the gates. No gringos allowed?

At least there was a nice sunset.

I spent the better part of an hour just looking for a place to eat. Restaurants were sparse and many closed. When I did eventually find an open one, it smelled so bad, I had to walk straight out. I did find a place to eat in the end, and I was the only person there. They blasted digital Christmas music that seemed to be a bit off. Sped up or mixed with other songs. Sounded terrible. On the other side of the place, all the workers gathered around a small television to watch dubbed “Fear Factor”. I had to laugh, did I just stumble in to hell?

Im realizing that my Mexican Spanish phrase book is becoming a bit useless. I ordered Tortillas de Langosta which should be tortillas and lobster. Instead I got eggs with shrimp. As if didn’t have enough problems with the language already.

H

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