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Sand, sand and more sand

Typical simple dwelling in the middle of nowhere

Sand blasting us on the highway.

Perfect roads winding through desert mountains

Small fishing village set amongst the desert mountains.

A clean machine is a good machine and I'll wash it wherever I can. These 3 wheeled taxies are the norm in many cities and towns.

The road follows the ocean much of the time. How good is this?

An isolated home in the desert

Zooming in on life without any conveniences. Water is trucked in and stored in drums.

Satellite cities spread for miles across the desert.

Shanty suburbs of on the outskirts of Lima.

... but what desert views

Making the most of the mountain streams to irrigate and produce good crops. The green rice paddy looks odd against the desert sands.

It's just strange to see the ocean and the desert meet.

Peru

21/11/04

Peruvian immigration was quick with no charge and the Carnét proved useful again for the bike, although we could have got through without it. We met up with a fellow overland motorcyclist at the border, an Englishman called Matt on an Africa Twin. We had a short chat then agreed to ride the 250km to Chiclayo together.

It never ceases to amaze us how things change so rapidly when one enters another country and within a few kilometres of entering Peru we were riding through desert terrain with dead straight roads, virtually no vegetation, sand as far as the eye could see and a strong headwind. This is the Sechura desert and as we rode further south it became more baron and sandy. The strong winds blasted sand across the highway and we now know what it must be like to ride across the Sahara desert. The villages too are much poorer with most people living in single rooms made with woven palm leave. Quite a change from Ecuador.

A fuel stop in Sullana and a bit of a surprise. 95 octane fuel is available but at 13.5 Sols a gallon. The current exchange rate is about 3.25 Sols to the US$ so fuel is expensive here. We hadn't been able to get any of the local Sols before leaving Ecuador but the locals will accept US$, providing the notes are in pristine condition. The slightest tear, mark or sign of aging and the notes are not accepted, not even by the banks and because of widespread forgery, all notes are held up to the light and the watermark checked.

The landscape became more and more baron as we continued south, totally devoid of any vegetation now and only sand as far as the eye can see. Arrived in Chiclayo (map –1), 550km for the day, just as it was getting dark but found a comfortable hotel for the night and a cheap local restaurant with spit roasted chicken that smelt too good to pass by. Had a huge feed for around $2.50 each.

22/11/04

We're back down to sea level but both Dianne and I feel lethargic. I thought we would feel supercharged with more oxygen but we're not, so we decided to have a slow day, wash the bike and take care of a few chores.

El Toro was filthy after negotiating some of the washaways in Ecuador and it felt good to get the chamois out and restore him to his rightful glory. After all the roads we've been on, all it takes is a hose and some suds and he looks as good as ever. An important aspect of hand washing the bike is that it gives me an opportunity to inspect and check everything and I noticed a broken pannier bracket.

The hotel we were staying at was very obliging and arranged for one of their cleaners to accompany me to a welding shop to get the bracket welded. A 20min ride in one of the hundreds of 3 wheeled motorcycle taxies for 30 cents, then $1.50 for the welding and another 30 cent taxi ride back to the hotel. Things are cheap here, confirmed by our $1.50 a head 'meal of the day' at the chicken place.

With the bike rearing to go and stop - I also replaced the rear break pads, we took it easy in the afternoon and just recharged our batteries a bit.

23/11/04

Feeling revitalised we hit the Pan American heading south with another big day ahead of us. Unfortunately the winds were still blowing strongly either a full on head wind or from the side, I'm not sure which is worse. Chiclayo is only a few kilometres from the coast and we had expected to be through the desert and into some coastal vegetation. Wrong. The Sahara like desert continued all day, 400km and looks set to continue all the way down the coast in Chile.

I quite enjoy the desert terrain, it's certainly different but this was quite grueling with the strong winds continually blowing sand across the road. However the road surface was good and there was very little traffic. If only the winds would drop this could be an excellent ride, but judging by the lean of the few trees, it would seem that strong southerly winds are the norm. The dusty atmosphere also partially obscures our view of the mountains on our left and the ocean to our right. On a clear day the colours would be spectacular.

We rode through lots of small villages today and again the adobe huts prevailed and we wondered what on earth possessed these people to choose to live in such an arid, desolate inhospitable environment. In many villages there is no industry or commerce and one wonders what the heck these people do and how do they survive. There are no crops, no animals and no water and it would seem, no hope. What there is though is lots and lots of rubbish, laying everywhere and blowing in the wind. Not a pretty sight. Several towns have building rubble strewn on the side of the road for several kilometres and it would seem this is done in an attempt to stop the sand building up on the highway.

One of the larger towns we passed through was Chimbote and it would have to rate, alongside Berlize City, as one of the worst places on earth that we have seen. Even our guide book thought it was bad and said that if you were unfortunate enough to have to stay for the night, then you should immediately find a hotel and not venture outside till morning!! Fortunately, further down the road we found a small fishing village near Casma with a cheap hostel and spent the night there.

24/11/04

A few kilometres further south and just east of Casma are the ancient ruins at Schin. When I say ancient I mean 1500BC, so that is seriously old and before the Mayan empire and long before the Inca empire. These ruins were only discovered in the 1970s and excavation is still progressing. Quite an experience though to walk around such an ancient ruin and interesting with many figure graphics carved into the walls.

Amazing how perceptive we have become on our travels. As we rode on, our first sign that something was wrong were the large rocks strewn across the road and the remains of burnt tyres. Then there were the trucks and buses parked on the side of the road. Nevertheless we continued on towards a police road block. At this stage we figured that something was amiss and when we looked into the distance we could see a mass of protesters chanting and marching towards the town centre, and us. The police were quick to guide us past the road block and along a small pathway by-passing the protesters, just as Dianne took out her Capsicum spray in anticipation of a bit of bother. Yes our days are interesting and sometimes exciting.

Continuing south we're still amazed at the masses who live in shanty towns around the city's. They mostly live in single rooms made of whatever building materials are available, tin sheets, cardboard, woven palm leaves and even plastic. A people, migrating from the highlands and hoping for a better life in the city which sadly most will not realise because of their lack of education.

Satellite towns then sprawl continuously across the sand dunes made up of disillusioned people who have left the city to claim their own piece of desert. Some choose to live in isolation in this bleak and dismal environment ensconced by sand. Those who manage to earn enough to buy brick and mortar build their home wall by wall and consequently most homes are never completed and while the Pan American highway is kept in excellent condition it seems out of place in the poverty it cuts through.

Sometimes heavy machinery is necessary to clear the sand dunes blowing onto the road.

As we float through these swirling patterns of sand and the myriad of colours and textures we feel grateful that we call Australia home.

25/11/04

Dianne has been feeling anxious about getting through Lima for a while and the last thing we need today is to be caught in the traffic of this capital city of 5.5 million people. The map shows the highway passing right over the centre and we hope that doesn't mean right through the centre.

30km from Lima and the traffic is already heavy, but fortunately the main highway does indeed pass over the city and before we know it we're on the southern outskirts and another 30km later we're through the worst of the traffic and the going is easy. The road passes many beaches and holiday retreats of the wealthy Lima residents but also many poor and depressing housing areas of the locals, with their one room shanty houses many without roofs in this desert area. We can't understand why anyone would choose to live in such an arid and inhospitable place with no electricity or running water or sanitation.

A thick fog and then smog has followed us all morning and it's difficult to see the mountains to the left of us. The road passes close to the ocean much of the way but again the view is obscured partially by the smog. Nevertheless an easy run south on the Pan American with little traffic and a good surface and with the bike running well on the 97 Octane fuel we reached Pisco (map –2) about 2.00pm and decided to stay the night in a hostel highly recommended by several guide books.

After an evening stroll around the local plaza we shared an excellent fish and rice dish at a small eatery and did a bit of people watching before catching a tricycle cab back to the hostile for 1 Sol (30c). Unfortunately in this gringo destination there are warnings of street crime and it is not safe to walk back to the hostel after dark.

The long and winding road we've taken.

Limitless horizons of the Vatican where the Vicuna herds roam.

Our first Alpaca in the high Andes.

Highland lakes are a translucent blue

We descend into the valley.

Passing fertile terraced slopes above Puquio

We took some photos of the locals in Puquio.

Unbelievable mountain scenery with snow capped mountains of over 5000m in the distance.

Local young girl and baby we passed on the road to Cusco.

Local in traditional dress, on the right, with her Alpaca.

Market stalls in front of the Inca terraced hillsides in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Rich soil supports good crops of potatoes as far as the eye can see.

Everywhere, there are industrious women spinning wool and creating wonderful textiles that they sell for a pittance.

View from our window of the river that flows past Aguas Calientes.

It's 3 for 1 happy hour and a tourist is getting into the Pisco sours, a traditional Peruvian drink.

Good looking couple atop Machu Picchu watching the early morning mist rise to reveal the mountains.

Machu Picchu set amongst towering mountains

Classic shot of Machu Picchu with the mountains and clouds in the background.

Incredible stonework of the Incas is almost impossible to replicate today.

Local women weaving Alpaca wool

Narrow cobbled streets are a feature of Cusco.

Ladies walking their Llamas in the city.

Nothing like doing your dirty washing in public, but everyone's having a good time.

Market day and everyone's dressed in their finest.

Does he know how silly he looks?

Traditional boat made of reeds.

According to legend Lake Titicaca is birth place of the Inca people and today as always the people here fish, hunt and live off the bounty of the lake. The Totora reed is used to construct houses and boats and is a source of food.

Breathtaking views of highland lakes...

... and rivers

Passing several volcanic peaks as we descend into the valley and our surrounding world turns white from the volcanic activity.

The people of the highlands in Colco Canyon have a unique traditional dress with finely embroidered details.

Convent of Santa Catalina

Playing the local sicu panpipe, a mystical sound.

Next page will take you on to Chile.

 

 

 

 

26/11/04

We leave the coast now and head inland a bit toward Nasca and the famous Nazca lines. (map –3)

The desert etchings, called the Nazca lines, include sets of parallel lines, and the outlines of animals and geometric shapes. Some of the lines are several miles long, and some of the animal figures measure more than 400 feet (120 meters) in length. The Nazca made the markings by removing dark surface rocks to expose light-colored sand underneath. The Nazca may have used the markings to follow the positions of stars in the night sky and thus to keep track of the seasons.

We climbed a tower to view some of the smaller figures but the $US40.00pp (too much for us) small plane flight is probably the way to go to see the full extent of the lines.

It was hot in Nazca away from the cool Peruvian ocean current and we were looking forward to turning left and heading east back up into the Andes on our way to Cusco.

As soon as we left the Pan American highway we started climbing via an endless series of switchbacks eventually reaching the summit of the first branch of the Andes before descending a bit and riding along the Andean plains. Here we saw our first authentic Andean Alpaca and then Llama, fascinating animals. The temperature has dropped from about 40 degrees C to around 15 degrees as we've climbed from near sea level to over 3400m and El Toro has lost some of his pep.

On reaching the summit we looked down on the world of the Andes.

It's only 150km from Nazca to Puquio but the slow travel takes us 3 and a half hours and in this desolate area we're anxious about finding somewhere to stay, but in Puquio there are several hostels and we find one that suits. A walk around the main plaza gives us an insight into these mountain dwellers who stare at us in amazement. I guess they don't see too many gringos, especially wearing motorcycle gear and as a result we also feel more secure here. Had a tasty meal of stew and spaghetti from a friendly street vendor before heading back to our $10.00 room.

27/11/04

Crystal clear blue skies, and temps around freezing greeted us this morning and a long ride to look forward to as we ride across the Andean planes towards Cusco over 500km away.

We got up early but took our time strolling around the markets taking photos before heading off on what would become a spectacular ride over the high Andean planes. We climbed and climbed to what felt like 4000m and El Toro had about as much oomph as an old Llama. Fortunately the fuel injection system ensured that despite the reduced oxygen levels at this altitude, the air fuel ratio was precisely maintained and the bike started, idled and ran perfectly, just with hugely reduced power, just like us.

Again we enjoyed magnificent mountain scenery and crystal clear air as we rode past herds of Llama, Alpaca and small Indian villages on an excellent road with virtually no traffic. We had lunch at Chalhuanca and from there followed a stream that became a river as it flowed south and descended towards Abancay. Today we've been on top of the world looking down and as we approach the valley in Abancay we now look up at these majestic mountains.

The going was tiring though at these altitudes and we can only average about 50kph and so decided to stop for the night at Abacany 200km from Cusco. Sometimes there is just so much wonderful scenery one can take in a day.

28/11/04

Cusco (map –4) is about 200km from Abbacay and a local reckoned it should take about 4 hours. Well it took us 6 hours as first we climbed out of Abacany, then descended into a hot valley then climbed again to about 4000m, descended again and finally climbed another range into Cusco at 3500m. On these roads with lots of switchbacks its hard for us to average more than about 50kph, especially with numerous stops to photograph either the scenery or the colourful locals and we did plenty of that as we enjoyed the ride on a perfect day.

Today being Sunday it was market day and we were able to photograph lots of locals in traditional dress on their way to market. Sometimes the locals are reluctant to have their photo taken, but Dianne offers them a toffee and they are usually more than willing.

After some exhilarating mountain scenery we entered Cusco which is a fascinating city of around 300 000 people and was once the Inca capital. We found a comfortable hostel and parked the bike inside the courtyard before taking a short rest, the altitude is knocking us around a bit. A set menu at the restaurant and internet café next door where for $2.00 we shared a soup of the day (vegetable) an avocado salad and a large plate of pesto spaghetti. That can't be bad, then a short stroll into the main plaza to enjoy the sights.

Cusco is the archaeological capital of the americas and the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city. Massive Inca built stone walls line most of the central streets and form the foundations of colonial and modern buildings.

29/11/04

I had a bad night and seem to have picked up a cold, probably from shaking hands with the locals, but we need to make arrangements to get to Machu Pichu to see the most famous of the Inca ruins. The hostel suggested a tour guide and we ended up arranging all of our tours with him - just too convenient and not much more than what it would cost us to organise it ourselves.

The first, an 8 hour tour by bus tomorrow of the surrounding Sacred Valley of the Incus, markets and Ruins. Cost $20.00 pp inc. lunch is too good to pass up.

The second is the highlight of our trip to South America. $110.00 gets us a return train trip to Aguas Calientes, accommodation for the night, a bus trip to the citadel of Machu Picchu, entrance into the site and a guide. Expensive but even walking the Inca trail is over $250.00!!

The third is a 5 hour tour of the city and surrounds for $10.00 pp after we return to Cusco.

We knew our visit here would be expensive but also a highlight and with the main business taken care of, I retreated to our room to rest up and beat this cold while Dianne had some free time to explore the craft shops and art galleries.

30/11/04

On our walks down to the main square and back we had passed an interesting café called Jacks. We decided to try them for breakfast and for the first time in a long time had excellent scrambled eggs, bacon and decent bread for toast. We washed that all down with fresh orange juice and 'proper' coffee. At $5.00 pp it was expensive but well worth the treat. The rest yesterday had also helped my cold and I was feeling much better.

A cab picked us up from the hostel and took us to the bus and we had a fantastic day cruising the Incas heartland, exploring several ruins, admiring the extensive and amazing stone walls and also enjoying several markets. Ollantayambo is a typical Inca Village and the Inca terraces are still used throughout the valley. Some of the local merchandise was just too good and too cheap to pass up and knowing the postage would be a killer, we bought a few items anyway.

This is our second bus trip on our tour and although we don't like this form of travel there are advantages. Our tour guide was excellent and gave us a good understanding of the Inca civilisation and we also got to chat to other English speaking tourists. All up we would rate this bus trip at 10 out of 10 for anyone visiting Cusco, and the included lunch was the best meal we've had for a long time.

Back at the hostel we need to pack up and get ready for an early start tomorrow to catch the train to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. I've set the alarm for 4.15am and a cab should pick us up at 5.30 to take us to the train station. Hope we don't oversleep!!

1/12/04

Well we woke up on time and the cab was on time to take us to the train station. Very efficient system and staff and we were soon in our allocated seats. This is the 'backpackers' train and is a little cramped but quite OK and we settled in for the 4 hour trip through the valleys to Aguas Calientes. (map–5)

Beautiful scenery along the way and an excellent room booked for us at the hostel. I think sometimes when you go through a tour company you get a better deal and our room was comfortable and looked out over the river flowing past Aguas Calientes. Time now to explore this small town that thrives on the hundreds of tourists that come to visit Machu Pichu every day.

The street vendors were out in force inviting us to 'make an offer' but we've bought all we can afford to post. There are hundreds of small restaurants here and all have buskers outside trying to woo customers inside. We're not hungry but on the outskirts a restaurant was playing blues music and offered 3 for 1 Pisco Sours, too much to resist and with an upstairs view overlooking the goings on below and the surrounding mountains we chilled out for a couple of hours just soaking in the atmosphere.

Many of the restaurants offer delicacies such as Alpaca, Trout and Guinea Pig. We thought we should be adventurous and shared an Alpaca stir fry for tucker. Not bad and now feeling content with the day we had an early night. Tomorrow would be a big day.

2/12/04

Up early (4.30am) to be ready for the included breakfast at 5.00am so that we can catch the first bus at 6.00am for Machu Picchu to see the mists rise from the valley. A 30 min. bus ride took us from 2500m to over 3000m and after a short climb we were looking at one of the most famous and photographed sites in the world. The weather was perfect with blue skies and low cloud hanging over the mountains, just the way it should be. We marveled and the camera worked overtime as we wandered around soaking it all in.

From the World Book...

Machu Picchu, pronounced MAH choo PEE choo, is an Inca archaeological site in Peru that probably served as a royal estate. The site holds the ruins of buildings constructed in the A.D. 1400's. It stands on a high ridge in a heavily forested part of the Andes Mountains.
It had palaces, fountains, temples and it also had houses for the farmers, weavers, and servants who lived at the site and worked for the royal family. The buildings were made of granite and had steep thatch roofs.
Construction of Machu Picchu began sometime after about 1438 and was probably abandoned shortly after the Spanish began their conquest of the Inca in 1532.

As part of our package we had a guide booked for 11.00am so we had 5 hours to walk around this ancient city on our own, just taking it in and wandering through this special complex . It really is impressive and the photos don't do it justice. I couldn't stop marveling at the intricate stone work and even today the experts find it difficult to figure out exactly how the Inca managed to get these huge stone blocks to fit with such precision.

We were looking forward to finding out more about this mysterious Inca city but our 11.00am guide was difficult to understand and a little short on knowledge. He guided us through the ruins for 2 hours and did explain a few things but seemed unable to either understand our questions or didn't have answers to them. A bit disappointing so to complete our understanding we bought a book as we left the site at about 3.00pm. After 9 hours of almost constant walking and climbing we were pretty tired and looking forward to catching the 4.00pm train back to Cusco. More on the Incas soon.

3/12/04

A slow start to the morning as we try to recover from a hectic couple of days. We did our washing and a bit of web site work and checked emails, and before we knew it it was lunch time and we needed to board our bus for the city tour.

A small group on this tour enabled us to have a more personal experience and our guide was knowledgeable and spoke fairly good English. We visited a couple of city sites and several Inca ruins outside of Cusco. While we on one of the hilltops overlooking Cusco, the winds picked up, the skies darkened and lightening flashed as it began to rain and get very cold. Fortunately it didn't rain too much where we were but after it cleared there was fresh snow on the mountain tops across the valley. Of course this was the only day we didn't take our fleece coats with us so we froze. I ended up having to buy an Alpaca jumper from the street venders for under $10.00.

The perfect fit of these Inca stones has to be seen to be believed and forms a strong base to much of Cusco's buildings today.

4/12/04

Dianne and I have had upset stomachs for a couple of days now and we're both feeling a bit lethargic. We had planned to leave for Puno today, an 8 hour ride, but have decided to take it easy and have a 'rest' day. Still lots to do though and we posted a parcel 'back home' of some local weaving and things. Also managed to upload the web site and do a bit of forward planning for the next couple of weeks. Good to get on top of things.

5/12/04

After a cheap breakfast ($2.00 pp) we were ready to head off. Dianne had instructions to get out of town but they involved going down one of the steep cobbled streets. She decided not to overload the bike and walked down the hill while I skidded and skated over the polished cobblestones to meet her. From there it was an easy ride out of the city and onto the high plains on our way to Puno and Lake Titicaca. (map–6)

An easy ride today with meandering roads although at this altitude the bike has little power.

We crossed one peak at over 4300m, the highest El Toro had been yet, and stopped to visit some roadside craft displays. The locals were intrigued by the bike and I'm sure I could have made a bit doing Harley rides.

Everyone wants a ride on the Harley. Bet the BMW mob don't get this!!

It was cold up here and threatening to rain, then we had to leave in a hurry as it started to sleet.

Stopped at a traffic light in Puno and a tourist guide suggested a hotel. It was reasonably priced although we had a bit of a struggle to get El Toro into the lobby. That evening we strolled the central plaza and a busker outside a small restaurant made us an offer we couldn't refuse. $3.00 for a soup, a main and a drink, and it was all good. After tucker a local band played local music and we would have liked to stay but we were taking the strain so headed back to the hotel for an early night.

6/12/04

Our tour guide from yesterday also offered us a 4 hour cruise on the lake with visits to three islands for $6.00pp. and we took him up on it and at 9.00am a mini bus collected us from the hotel, stopped to pick up some other tourists then took us down to the wharf and we boarded our boat.

It was a beautiful sunny day after a cold night last night and we headed out on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world (4000m) toward the first island. I say island but the local Uros people have lived here, apparently since 800BC, on floating islands constructed of reeds. The islands we visited had about 12 families living in reed huts selling tourist items and surviving mainly on fish and duck.

Some great photo opportunities of these people living in a unique environment.

7/12/04

Heading SE we had a brief look at the lake side activities and small villages following the southern shore of Lake Titicaca before we turned back and headed NW on our way to Arequipa. We visited the archaeological site of Sillustani where huge circular funerary towers were built by the ancient Collas people to bury their important people, next to a small lake just north of Puno. An excellent ride over the high Andean plains, a lot of the time at over 4000m, on open winding roads. On the last half of the trip we had a stiff headwind and the bike, El Wimpo, struggled to maintain 100kph. Several times, even on the flat I had to down change and with full throttle we would gradually get back up to speed and 5th gear, but the slightest uphill and I would have to down change again.

Again unique scenery that changed from semi dry alto plano grasslands to desert as we descended. There are scattered small communities of dark mud huts and herds of llama, goats and sheep in these arid lands.

Coming into Arequipa was a bit of a shock after what we've been used to. Desert terrain and shanty houses on the outskirts, but the city itself is full of beautiful old Colonial houses, convents and temples and has been declared a Cultural Heritage of Mankind by UNESCO.

It's history dates back to 8000 BC. Testimony of this history is its cave paintings and many archaeological monuments in the surrounding areas. Legend tells of Arequipa being founded by the fourth Inca, Mayta Capac, whose army invaded and camped in the valley. When it was time to leave, some of his people asked to be able to stay, to which the Inca responded "ari quepay", which in Quechua means "yes you may stay".

We arrived about 3.00pm so had some time to walk around and explore the city. As with most cities in this part of the world, the main plaza is where all the action takes place and Arequipa would have to have the "best" main plaza of them all. Surrounded by impressive colonial buildings, the plaza has a central water fountain, well maintained gardens and shady trees. It is known as the white city because of the light volcanic rock used for all the buildings. It is also spotless and there is absolutely no rubbish laying around anywhere. Tourist police ensure tourists are not bothered by beggars or vendors and there seems to be an allocation of shoe shine boys, ladies selling sweets and strangely, photographers. Each has a unique uniform and they must pay for the privileged for their spot in the Plaza.

For tucker Dianne and I shared a 'touristo' menu of soup, stir fried beef with rice and a free Pisco Sour for $3.00, on one of the balconies overlooking the goings on in the plaza. We were lucky to catch a parade of people dancing and singing in traditional dress, quite a spectacle.

8/12/04

A must do around Arequipa is to visit Coco Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world. Also the Convent of Santa Catalina, an amazing place with completely restored architecture. The bright natural colours and interesting shapes made this place a photographers delight. We also spent some time today wandering the inner city suburbs and are impressed with the mansions of the few wealthy Peruvians who live here.

Tonight we decided to sample the local Chum, a dish of prawns, potatoes, pumpkin, cheese and more. Delicious and for only $6.00 for the two of us. Hope we can get this in Australia.

So much activity, on the balcony a local band plays beautiful traditional music and in the street below a brass band plays in a religious parade.

9/12/04

Left Arequipa heading through more arid highlands that drop rapidly to the dry coastal plains with nothing but sand.

With the wind behind us we made good time south to Tanco, the last Peruvian city before the border with Chile. After a tasty and cheap last Peruvian meal we reached the Police checkpoint, just before the border post around mid afternoon.

We've had a good time in Peru and enjoyed cheap prices for food and accommodation and local wares. The people have been friendly and helpful and the roads good with stunning scenery. Peru also enjoys the mystic of the Inca and their ruins and colourful markets with traditionally dressed women selling their wares. We have fond memories of Peru and hope to return one day. On reflection though, our memories as usual are of the good times and it is easy to forget about those poor souls living in the desert. We came across this saying somewhere and it is perhaps applicable to life here, "though our brother is on the rack our senses will never inform us of what he suffers".

I had read somewhere about a form we needed for the border crossing, available in Tanca (we knew not where) or possibly at the border crossing. The police here asked for this form and when they saw we did not have one they pulled one out of the bottom draw of their little desk and advised us that it would cost $5.00 and they would complete all the details. There did not seem to be any other options if we wanted to proceed, so we reluctantly paid up and were on our way with the form. It was then just a matter of getting the temp. import permit stamped for the bike, a custom and police clearance stamp on the all important form. Then with one remaining stamped copy of the form it was onto the Chilean border post.

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©Haydn and Dianne Durnell 200