ROUTE FOR NEXT WEEK AND A HALF PRESS > HERE
5TH MAY UPDATE….TOTAL TO DATE: 17,869KM FOR 427 ROAD DAYS.
PERU DAILY LOG HAS BEEN UPDATED. TO VIEW FULL PERU DAILY DISTANCES AND DETAILS PRESS > HERE
MAY 5TH 2012. FROM KM 31 ON ROUTE 18 TO KM 46 IN SAYAN THEN TO ROUTE 1NC AT KM 0. AS FAR AS KM 15, NOTE SPOT TRACKER DID NOT UPDATE THIS LAST SEGMENT. 30KM TODAY.
MAY 4TH 2012 FROM KM 153 ON PAN AMERICAN HIGHWAY AS FAR AS JUNCTION 18 (EAST TOWARDS MOUNTAINS AND CUZCO) ROAD HAS NO SHOULDER, JUST 2 MTS OF ROCKY,UNEVEN GRAVEL. I RAN FROM KM 0 TO KM 31 = 31 KM TODAY.
MAY 1-3 IN LIMA FOR BUSINESS.INCLUDING PICK UP HEAVY BAG/RESEND TO HUANCAYO, AND PARCEL FROM HOME. ALSO A VISIT TO THE IRISH EMBASSY.
PM MAY 3RD TRAVEL BACK TO ROUTE FOR RESTART TOMORROW INTO THE ANDES TOWARDS CUZCO.
APRIL 30TH 2012. FROM KM 196 TO KM 153 TO FINISH CLOSE TO JUNCTION 18 TOWARDS SAYAN. 43KM TODAY, FELT GOOD, TRAVEL TO LIMA. STAYING IN HOSTAL TROPICAL.
29/4/2012. FROM KM 250 TO KM 196 (BARRANCA CROSSROADS ON PAN-AMERICAN HIGHWAY) LATE SLUGGISH START AND LATE FINISH. GOT A POLICE ESCORT TO FINISH. 54KM TODAY, GOOD DAY, I MANAGED TO RETRIEVE 3 OF MY 4 WATER DROPS ON THE ROAD,THAT SYSTEM WORKING GREAT! HEAVY TRAFFIC/GOOD SHOULDER. AM NOW 11 DEGREES BELOW THE EQUATOR.
A couple of routine days took me to Lambayeque, which is about 12km from where I decided too base in Chicalayo. I got there early and wanted to get out and back onto the road as quickly as possible. I asked a mototaxi to take me to a clean, cheap place and so he starts talking about a place where gringos stay. Fine I say thinking it’s a backpackers hostel, so he took me to a 5 star luxury hotel and wondered why I didn’t tip him! At the reception I was told $250 a night!
I turned around and sprinted out. So another taxi driver takes me downtown and everything is very expensive and without wi-fi. So I wander around and am standing outside a Hotel called Hotel Kalu. It’s a nice place. I see the cheapest room advertised at 100 soles a night, about 40 dollars. Next thing the doorman starts negotiating with me. He quickly comes down from 100 soles to 70, to 50 No deal I told him, then he says 40. So I say 30 soles = $12 is my offer. He goes inside and checks with management who say yes. As I was checking in I noticed breakfast was included, but didn’t say anything in case they said no as I was getting a great deal. That’s what happened, I got breakfast the first morning and they cut me off the other two days I stayed there including a rest day.
Running out of Chiclayo was tough, really congested, the noise, honking taxi drivers who think I came all this way to take a ride in their beat up motor! Anytime I ask anyone for directions I am told it’s far away, even five blocks is far, when I tell them that’s nada they are genuinely astonished. The next day I am running towards Mocupe, it’s another tough day even though there are only 27km on the clock today. I stop at the side the road, it seems there is some kind of a charity fundraiser going on as the vendors are selling juices out of half litre used soda bottles for about 50 cents, a steal here.
THE DESERT ONLY BEGAN 12KM BACK AND ALREADY IT'S PARTYTIME!
It’s at the side of the road, outside a factory gate in a remote location, a true oasis for me. I drank a lot of water that day. I sometimes wonder if drinking water is just like lubricating a rusted bicycle chain. Neglect it and it will seize up, just like the body, lubricate it and it will perform wonders.
Sweat and salt from sweat fluid are creating a glue like substance on my lips, the wind and sand dont help and its sometimes painful when I open my lips. Yes it’s very hard for me to open my mouth I now have very sore lips exasperated by my addiction to hot tea and coffee. It is sometimes very painful brushing my teeth.
A PENNY FOR YOUR THEM.
A couple of days there were strong sandstorms. I had to cover my face as much as I can. Its difficult to keep my hat on, sometimes I just leave it off.
ENTER SANDMAN! THE SANDSTORM IS ALMOST OVER.
I have been told that the further south I go in south America the cheaper things will be. That’s not what I am finding,I am finding Peru to be expensive and just like Ecuador more expensive for a lesser product all the time.
I spotted the ocean today for the first time, what a thrill, I pinched myself, yes it’s really happening!
The roadside and desert fields are littered so much it’s just unreal. It’s almost like the city officials either allow people to dump their household waste, including old sinks, broken tiles, you name it.
I saw a woman cross the road and empty a sack of rubbish into a hedge opposite to her house.
But as I have said before, what can people do if there is no rubbish collection, only bury or burn but I don’t really see much of an effort to keep the place clean. Last week I saw people burning their waste right up against a wall of…. wait for it…. A gas station! And there was no sign of anyone stopping them. I passed many desert dumps with scavengers who appeared to be living on these dumps in a desperate effort to scrape out some kind of a living, it was very sad.
In this part of Peru I have seen more syringes than I have ever seen in the whole of my life put together, it’s always eerie seeing a used syringe, even if I didn’t see any blood stains. I wondered if they were from hospitals or diabetics or junkies.
At the end of the day a young boy shouts over to me ” Un otra dia senor! ” or another day, he is smart, really tuned.
The desert thickens, more and more sand dunes. Sometimes, usually near small towns there is some vegetation as small patches of sand have been irrigated by the few small river channels around.
THIS MAN IS WORKING VERY HARD TRYING TO CULTIVATE A FEW PLANTS.
There are a few vegetable and fruit farms, even one vineyard. I stop at one of these farms and the security guard lets me fill up a couple of my empty bottles from his water cooler. Fill at every opportunity.
Then I get to a place called Ciudad de Dios, or Gods City.
It truly is a miciraculas place as the dogs don’t even bark at me, they haven’t barked all weekend. Here in Peru dogs are often up on the roofs, up where they belong in my view!
UP WHERE YOU BELONG, WHERE THE AIR IS FREE
I stopped for an ice cream there and the vendor insisted I gave him a 5 soles coin, he is persistent, it, takes all my bargaining skills, but this time in reverse to convince him that it was only a 2 soles coin, Gods City indeed, there is hardly a day when a couple of people don’t try to cheat me, just like back in Panama. I call it the Gringo tax.
By now I feel the mountains are out of my legs, I am starting to feel strong and pound out 3 days of over 50km. It’s a great confidence boost for when the mountains will be ahead of me when I get to Argentina in about three months time.
I have written about my energy crises in the past in the Colombian and Ecuadorian Andes, but what can I expect with over 17,000km in the legs, having run for over 2,300km in the Andes, without no support vehicle, no support crew, all the extra work what with blogging and the never-ending emails, late nights, long days on the road.
The fact that I often have to hit the snooze button in the mornings for over two hours. I now use my ipod alarm connected up to my external speaker and the fact that I can fall back asleep to the sound of AC DC, Iron Maiden and Metallica tells it’s own story! Night time I usually drift off with something light, often classical Beethoven or Mozart which is nicely placed between Metallica and Motley Crue!
I mentioned before that this coast has a bad reputation for armed petty crime. A lot of the time I keep to myself, well as best as I can! I just don’t hand out as many cards as I used to and mostly tell people I am just here for a couple of weeks vacation. If a car stops in a suspicious manner I have trained my mind to memorise its registration number as I run towards it. I never run on the inside, if the road is clear I just run wide on the road or cross over. I still remember the registration number from a suspiciously parked white pickup truck in northern Ecuador, PSB1258.
There was a morning when I was commuting back to Viru from Chimbote. A couple of cops got on the bus and examined peoples identity cards. Being the only gringo on the bus he asked me for my passport. I told him I left it back at the hotel, so I got pulled off the bus, bag and all.
They tried to scare me telling me it’s an offence not to carry my passport with me and especially the visa slip. The general advice is not to try to talk them down, just go along with the flow.
” How do we know it’s in your hotel, you do not have a passport and are travelling on this bus? ”
I pulled out the hotel card as I always ask for one, in case I get lost.
” Here phone them, they will confirm my passport details as I just registered there today and the phone number is on the card. ” I said.
Then he said in English… ” How much will you give me if I let you go, 100 soles or 200 soles? About 40 or 80 dollars! The nerve of the man, I couldn’t believe how dumbly he phrased it, 100 or 200!
I lost my cool and with my right index finger started tapping him on his left shoulder ignoring his English and in Spanish, and for all around to hear I shouted…
” I will give you Mierda (shit!) Nada, nothing, and will write about you in my blog! ”
I also tell him if he wasn’t busy collecting ‘ fines ‘ his country would be a lot safer and wouldn’t have the bad reputation it has and that I would be able to carry my passport around safely with me. Colombia and Mexico are much safer countries now than they used to be, all because they took crime seriously and swamped the highways with the police and military.
That night I get copies made of my passport and my visa, I will carry them around with me in future and continue to leave my passport back at my hotel.
He asked another couple of dumb questions before backing down and told me to get back on the bus. I had just passed through a small tunnel, so now I am a bit worried when I run through this area tomorrow. It’s funny that the last time I had hassle with a cop, it was just before a small tunnel in north Colombia. (Not the blog posting where I got lost. The one where I got interrogated and asked questions about how much money I had on me.)
Next morning I ran through that tunnel without spotting the cop or having any trouble, it was only 200 metres long.