Facts and Figures
Feb 17th - Feb 26th 2011
Paracas (Refugio del Pirata)
17/02/2011 - Waiting for an Email to find out what time Skip and Rachel arrive, nothing to do today but wait for them to show up. Bus got in at 14:30 but I sent Lorraine in on her own to give them a hand with their gear. She had started to give me a haircut with the electric shears when they packed in half way through, she then attacked me with a pair of scissors, needless to say it was a bit of a mess and not fit for public appearance!!!!
Into town (with a hat on) to book the tour for tomorrow, found one that included the Ballestos Islands, a fossil site, the Cathedral rock and lunch in a little fishing inlet.
Had a huge seafood soup with a whole crab in it for dinner then off to find some beers and settle in to watch a few Family Guys on the laptop.
18/02/2011 - Up early to get the boat at 08:00 for the whole day tour. The boat trip around the Ballestos Islands is first off and due to last 2 hours. We get the bus on time from the tour office and set off for a couple of hotel pickups on the way. First stop and we have to wait because the Americans that we are picking up there can’t tell the time and aren't ready!!!!
We get to the boat with just enough time to neck a quick coffee before we board. First point to view is the Candelabra geoglyph, a giant carving in the sandstone rock, dated about 200 BC it stands 595 feet tall and can be seen from about 12 miles out to sea. After a quick photo stop, there is no access to the geoglyph for protection reasons so everyone is jostling about and getting in each others way trying to get a good shot from the rocking boat. We carried on to the islands, again as it is a protected site, no-one is allowed ashore. The place is swarming with birds, Pelicans, Peruvian Boobies, Terns, Inca Terns, Penguins, Buzzards and more that I can’t remember, there are also a lot of Sea Lions.
The Quecha people discovered that Guano, the sun baked droppings and urine from birds, bats and seals, made a good fertilizer and it has been collected here for centuries. We had been told that we might see Killer Whales and Dolphins but no luck this time.
Off the boat and time for another quick coffee before the next trip. We were supposed to get an English speaking guide but none available, however the tour ahead of us had one so we charged along through the streets to catch up. We caught them up just as she was finishing explaining about “El Catedral”, a rock formation that once looked like a cathedral just off shore and linked to the main cliffs. This was destroyed in the tsunami of 2007 along with most of the town of Paracas and Pisco and is now just a lump of rock jutting out of the ocean. We next set off for the fossil site that is advertised around the town as one of the main attractions, turned out to be a few shells stuck in a rock bed that used to be an ocean floor millions of years ago. Next stop was a little fishing bay called something or other for dinner (not included in the price!). After a very bouncy ride for a couple of miles we pulled up at the bay, a small cove with about 5 restaurants and a couple of shops selling tat. As we pulled in all the menu wavers spotted the bus and came charging towards us. Before the bus stopped and anybody had even got off we were surrounded, menus being pushed in through the windows and then people being forcibly ushered towards the touts restaurant. We barged our way through the touts and headed in the opposite direction until they had calmed down a bit!
Not the best of the tours we have been on!!
Back into town, dinner, beer and more Family Guy.
Start Milege - 34,334
Miles - 154
Paracas (Refugio del Pirata) - Miraflores (The Blue House)
No replies from any of the emails we sent last night regarding safe parking for the bike. We decided on the Blue House as it looked ok in the pictures and was a reasonable price. Rachel called them to confirm our arrival before we left. Skip and Rachel safely on the bus we headed out not sure of what was ahead of us as we had read and heard that the traffic in Lima was horrendous. A nice ride mostly along the coast with a few coffee stops on the way. As we approached Lima the traffic started to get a bit heavier but nothing like we had heard, not any worse than riding in London, and we were heading for Miraflores which is at the South side of the city. GPS got us to our destination without any dramas. The problems began when we rang the bell of hostel, Skip and Rachel had arrived already but were out and about.
The guy had said that parking was available but he failed to mention it was in a residential building across the street and I would have to grease the doorman's palm. The parking was cheap and secure enough in the underground lot and behind an electric gate but I wouldn't be able to take it in and out in case the residents complained. Bike offloaded and parked we were shown our accommodation ….. Horrendous, the rooms looked like they hadn't seen a cleaner for months and smelled of damp, the kitchen was filthy with the bin overflowing, grease on everything and fag ends in the sink. The dining room table had remnants of breakfast still piled up on it (at 16:00!) not sure which breakfast, it could have been there for days. The owner who had obviously had a beer or two was keen to point out that he ran a “budget backpackers” that’s why his rates were low, there is a difference between budget and just can’t be bothered!!!!!! We knew Skip and Rachel weren't going to be impressed and guessed the reason they weren't here to greet us was that they were out hunting down other accom. We were right, they had found a place just over the road that was a thousand times better but twice the price. We could move in tomorrow so guess we could put up with this crap hole for one night.
Miraflores is a very modern city and very American, has all the requirements, MacDonalds, Starbucks etc. quite a difference to most of the Peru we have seen.
We cooked on the hostels stove but used our own pots and utensils, then cleared the breakfast stuff that was still on the table 4 hours later. Closer inspection of the rooms we noticed mouldy stains on some of the mattresses and pillows and roaches running around the place. We didn't get a lot of sleep either not only because of the conditions but there was hell of a lot of comings and goings all night … we are the only guests, iffy!!!
Miraflores (The Blue House) - Miraflores (Peru Backpackers)
20/02/2011 - While we were packing up a couple of long term residents were in charge and setting up the breakfast table, while they were laying the stuff out their puppy crapped and peed on the floor. Mess cleaned up with paper towels and dumped in the kitchen bin, they carried on setting up, not even washing their hands!!! We couldn't get out quick enough. I fetched the bike while Lorraine carted out the gear, most of it loaded on I rode the hundred or so metres across the junction to the Peru Backpackers hostel. Not much parking but they allowed me to park up in the small garage attached, just enough room for the bike.
We took a bus ride into Lima for the day again with no sign of the horrendous traffic that is supposed to be here. Lots of riot police on the streets but they were mostly just lounging about leaning on their shields, nice to see they aren't busy!!
21/02/2011 - Phoned around for a front tyre and found one in BMW for Soles 350. Skip and Rachel out and about trying to organise flights to Miami. They’re back before we head out, front wheel in hand to get the tyre changed. We took advantage of the free BMW coffee while we waited for the tyre, no discount :-(
22/02/2011 - Just hanging around the seafront and the hostel today. The new KLR will be ready for Skip and Rachel to pick up in Miami on Thursday, flights booked for tomorrow. They will be leaving early so out for an early farewell dinner. Walking down restaurant street we are again attacked by menu wielding thugs trying to get us into their eateries, funny how most of them are empty!! We managed to escape the army of waiters and sneak around a back road to another restaurant without being seen. Had a pretty mediocre Cevice, a typical South American dish made from raw seafood, nice but nothing special.
Start Mileage - 34,488
Miles - 130
Miraflores (Peru Backpackers) - Barranca (Hospedaje Paraiso II)
Sad farewells to Skip and Rachel, we have had a good month or so with them, even with all your mood swings Skip :-) It was fun, thanks.
Packed up and rolling by 11:00. it took about an hour and a half to clear Lima, it’s huge. A non eventful ride today, a bit too much on the Pan Americana. We were passed by a few bikes all loaded along the way, must be something going on. No destination planned today but along the way decided to call it a day at Barranca. On the outskirts of town we noticed another loaded bike in a fuel station so pulled in for a chat, a German lady on a V Strom, she said she was with a party of 15 other bikes that were riding together and that they were all staying in the Hotel Chivan in town. We checked it out, US$80 a night each! As we thought … they were a Globe Busters tour. The Valet parking guy told us about another hotel around the corner that was much more reasonable, he even called them up to tell them we were on our way, just to make sure he got his cut I suppose. No parking but a good secure lock up around the corner for Soles5 a night, that’ll do nicely thank you.
Met a few of the Globe Busters group in the Chinese at dinner and got chatting to them. Among the group was one of the guides who recognised us, we had met him 18 months ago in Pedro Luro, Argentina when he was guiding another tour. This lot are on a Round the World tour .. In 8 months!!!
No hot water in the shower, should have stayed at the US$80 a night hotel!!!
Start Mileage - 34,618
Miles - 134
Barranca (Hospedaje Paraiso II) - Huaraz (Hostal Virrey)
Hot water in the shower this morning, after I found the switch to turn it on. Packing up was a slow process again, sooooo hot and no shade, eventually done and on the road in time to stop 500mtrs up the road for breakfast.
Started out on the Pan Am for the first couple of miles then found a road up into the mountains towards Huaraz. A few KM’s up the road we came to a Peaje where we were waived through only to be stopped by a cop the other side. All very pleasant chatting away then he asks for my driving license and bike paperwork, I of course handed over the copies. He then asks how long we have been in Peru. When he finds out we have been here over a month he says we are illegal because we don’t have the correct licence. According to his “law”, all foreigners travelling in Peru for more than a month have to possess a Peruvian licence, he then showed me the “Infractions” book that he had which stated the fine for this infraction was Soles1,800, about £400, which we could pay to him or at the main police station in Lima. After much discussion he must have realised we weren't going to hand over any cash and tells us we can go on to Huaraz but we have to go back to Lima by Monday to obtain a new license … OK officer, we’ll do that!!!
Climbing up over the pass the temperature dropped again and didn’t warm up much on the drop down into Huaraz, at 3000Mtr. We rolled into town just as the icy rain started to fall so checked the first hotel we found, too expensive even after they dropped the price so we checked the one next door, much better and parking two doors away.
Found an internet café and posted a question on the HUBB re the tug we had earlier, just in case!
The night club next door is going full chat and rattling the walls, went on until about 03:00.
Huaraz (Hostal Virrey)
Tipping it down with rain today so sat in and watched the T.V. for most of the morning. The rain let up enough to get out later in the afternoon, still cold and windy though. Lots of responses from the HUBB, all confirming corrupt cop as we had thought, someone emailed us the a copy of the law regarding foreigners travelling in Peru, handy.
Our music player has packed in all together now so out hunting for a new one, found a nice small replacement.
The night club is at it again!
Start Mileage - 34,752
Miles - 151
Huaraz (Hostal Virrey) - Santa (Romance Hostal)
Layered up against the cold for today's ride. We are heading back into the mountains and then for Chimbote. The roads are worse than we have been having lately, very potholed and stretches of ripio.
A quick stop in Yungay for lunch, coffee and tamales and then a few KM’s further on the road turned completely to ripio. It started to look like pictures I had seen on other websites. We had planned on riding the Duck River Canyon but because I thought it was further North I hadn't done any research on it, looks like we have just stumbled on it, 99% sure.
A great ride, from Caraz to just before Santa it is around 160KM’s of gravel road, very powdery gravel! We passed hardly any other vehicles on the road, 3 cars and one bus. Between the start of the ripio and the hydroelectric station at Huallanca there are around 35 tunnels cut out of the rock face, after Huallanca it is still ripio following the river but with only a few tunnels. The colours in the rock reminded us of our ride up Paso de Agua Negra in Chile. After a few more KM’s, covered in dust ,and sweating because we were still layered up, we pulled over for a smoke and to see if we could figure out how much further the tarmac was. We guessed about another 20 KM’s to the tarmac but it was just around the next bend. We rode a few more KM’s through shanty villages with corn, peppers and chilli’s drying out on the roadside before we got to the junction of the Pan American. Chimbote was down the road to the south, we thought it pointless riding there only to have to come back this way in the morning so hunted down a cheap hotel in Santa.
Bike parked and offloaded then the owner of the hotel asked if we wanted beers then ran off to find some for us .. nice! Food was next on the list, not a great deal to the town of Santa, there is a fuel station across the road that sells snacks or a chicken and chips restaurant a bit further on. We opted for the chicken and chips. We ordered the Cena - soup, chicken and chips and got talking with the guy behind the counter. When he heard what we were doing he brought out his whole family who joined us at the table and asked the usual questions while we ate. Time to leave and he brought us over a huge bag of local fruit to take with us, it probably won’t last in this heat and no fridge in the room, but they insisted.
Back to the room for beer and check tomorrows route.
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