Sunday, 20 May 2012

Day 56 to 57 – to Lima, Peru

16 to 17 May    Kms travelled – 13,906

As I return to life on the blog as normal, we pick up my trip again at Nasca in Peru (or is it Nazca?  I´ve seen it both ways), heading north.  The place has, of course, been long famous for motor racing, and they have even named a car racing competition in the States after the place.  Seems that the ancients were such petrol-heads that they even built a whole series of race tracks in the desert which can still be seen today!  Well, perhaps not, perhaps they are in fact something else, but the Nasca lines are still causing some debate as to why they were laid out, and why they can only really be seen from the air! 

I didn´t take to the air, nor did I climb the observation tower just outside town to see the strange figures in the desert.  I had a date with a new set of tyres and a chain change, and I wasn´t going to be late for that.  I´m not being much of a tourist in this trip, and have been determined to leave some key visits behind in Peru as motivation to return and spend more time here.  It truly is a spectacular country with fantastic people and great food.

But back on the road, and the Pan American (1) north from Nasca beckoned.  I was blessed with some very interesting rock formations from the edge of the Cordillera Occidental, before the desert took hold.  But the locals are fighting back, and I was impressed by the quantity and quality of agricultural land that had been reclaimed from the shifting sands – this must be a better way of production than chopping down rain forest.  Certainly the green stretches were a welcome respite to these eyes, which were getting a little tired of the sandy stuff.  

What I did encounter was also quite a lot of mist.  And I wasn´t altogether sure at one stage whether in fact that was a sea mist or perhaps fine sand being kicked up by the desert winds – perhaps a bit of both.  In any event it countered my feeble attempts to take anything near decent photographs until later in the day.  I´m sure someone with more skills and better kit than I would have turned some of those scenes into romantic images – all I managed to achieve was a strip of road leading into whiteout!  Clearly the eyes are the best lenses in the world – but unfortunately the brain does not necessarily offer the best memory.  My recollections, recorded here, report some very pretty desert – I just can´t show you much of it!

Rolling into Lima was fun - not!  It kind of starts about 50 kms before the city, and I can´t say the traffic (ie driving) was as bad as leaving Buenos Aires, but they do seem to be giving the Argentineans a good run for their money.  At least I was heading for Miraflores on the south side next to the sea, so I managed to get in and to my selected hostel without any scratches.  And this side of the city was a pleasant surprise.  Clean, well kept buildings dotted around green parklands – and with sophisticated shopping.  If you are heading to Lima, I recommend this area as the place to stay.  It was most certainly more developed than I had anticipated. 

I noted earlier how fab the people are – as I was unloading the bike outside the hostel a well dressed chap pulled up in his car to admire Idris.  Seems Julian´s company does work for Yamaha and he was able to point me in the right direction regarding where best to get Idris some new tyres.  He also invited me to a get together with some friends on the weekend, but I had to decline that due to time issues – shame.  As it turned out the next morning Julian was spot on, when I headed straight to Direli (Pirelli dealers) and got us a new set of MT60s at a price less than half what you would pay in the UK.  I also took the opportunity to get the mechanic to swap out the chain and rear sprocket (now done 21,000 kms) to use up the DIN ones I was carrying.  Which by lunchtime, left me to make my (slow) way back to my accommodation and take a long walk around the area.  I am trying to make such walks every day, and they seem to be having an impact on my struggling back.  

Thought for the day
Lots of deep thoughts as I rode through the desert – many of which I have yet to distil and return to before recording them on this site.  One that did return to me (I´m not sure whether I have noted this one previously) is when does a beach end and the desert begin?  See, I told you they were deep thoughts.  I had settled on the line created by high-tide, having discarded man made barriers such as roads, beach bars etc.  But now I am not so sure.  Surely there are beaches that these days never, or hardly ever, get covered by the sea and yet we still consider the whole area the beach.  That being the case where do you draw the line between a Peruvian (for Chilean for that matter) beach and the surrounding desert?  I feel it important that this matter is resolved – so if you have any insight, please feel free to post a message.  Thanks.
Pretty desert - or is it the beach?


  1. Yey! Great to have the blog back! Very jealous that you'll be in Ecuador soon xxx

  2. Hope to make it tomorrow - nasty desert to cross first!

  3. That was Clare...this is me. Yey! Great to have the blog back! Very jealous that you'll be in Ecuador soon xxx I think the beach ends at the road. I had very much the same thought though. Strange to have desert right next to the water though. All that salt I imagine.

  4. the demarcation line is to do with the change in the flora and fauna between the beach zone and the desert zone.

  5. Ah - I like it. Cheers RBJ.