As we were heading into “Malaria” country we started taking our anti malarial drugs this morning, I immediately felt shit, probably a placebo effect. As we were loading up the bikes I noticed both Right pannier frames were cracked in exactly the same place invariably as a result of the rough roads and the right side was the side we carried our spare fuel cans so the extra 5 kg obviously stressed the rails, nothing I could do about it so I bodged them up and we set off for Nasca over the Andes.
|Nice overnight stop between Cusco and Nasca|
It was a slow run, rising and falling in altitude, 3000 metres, 4000 metres then back down to the valley floor before climbing again, any trucks or buses we happened upon were invariably spewing out black reek, thick diesel fumes, at times when you dared take your eye off the road the scenery and drops were spectacular but we both preferred to pay attention! This day’s journey was in 3 parts, the first the roads were actually quite good and it was warm, then a fuel stop and time to be sick after I attempted to go to the most disgusting toilet, eyes streaming we set off, the road surface got worse and the road rose to 4400 metres at which point it got wet and cold for around 60 miles then we started the decent into Nasca and things got better again. Well they got better until almost in sight of the sea but still high up the truck we were following almost crashed into another truck coming around the hairpin, the truck went straight on, all wheels locked and stopped just inches from the edge , then for some reason it was our fault, lots of angry gesticulation as we tried to push our bikes fully loaded back up hill to get around the blockage. Sometimes a reverse gear could be handy.
To be honest Nasca looked like a dump, we rode in and found a hotel but a tout hanging around told us he had a Hostel, much cheaper, we followed him and the place to be honest was ok but the owner and his mates were always trying to sell us something, bikes parked safely in the communal sitting room we set off to find food and then back to the hostel.
Fellow travellers were there including a group of Australians catching a bus to Cusco the next day, good luck with that I told them, take the sick bags, another young Dutch guy had just been robbed and had his camera taken.
|Bikes in the sitting room|
Up early and a good breakfast, we had to get the pannier frames repaired so I removed them and we set off with the young tout to find a welder, for some reason the guy took us to a couple of bike shops which weren’t that helpful then we got directed to a mid terraced house in a shabby street, an equally shabby guy came out and said he could do it, wheeled his gas bottles out of the house and proceeded to weld up on the pavement with no goggles, a bit of a rough job but cheap and they were fixed again.
Back to refit the frames, some maintenance and out for a walk, touts everywhere, money changers on street corners, the people aren’t particularly nice and live just for today managed to get whisky at the supermarket for £5 a bottle, result!
|Welding al fresco|
The Hostel is a strange place, the fat owner probably in his late 30’s was watching cartoons on YouTube with his mates, he acted like a gangster and had a young Czech wife, Fiona was disturbed when she passed a room and the owner was lying with just his pants on (not pretty) getting a massage from one of his mates wearing Orange overalls. There was also a Belgian who was a bit weird, he drew attention to himself the night before by being sick in the communal sink where we had been doing our dishes (not at the same time) he wandered around all day with nothing on other than a nappy like thing ! Two Swedish girls came in to talk to us (and share the whisky) their pal was in hospital with suspected Dengue fever but we heard later it was Salmonella, they had also been robbed on the night bus.
We were glad to leave the chaotic Hostel and Nasca behind, heading just north of the city we arrived at the desert that has these Nasca lines , world famous but in my opinion a bit of a con trick, I paid 50p to climb the observation tower while Fiona watched the bikes.
|This is what all the fuss is about|
|Fi watching the bikes|
|Bikes at rest|
Soon after we had a near death experience with two overtaking trucks who budged not an inch when they saw us, we had to ride the gravel to avoid being minced, bloody crazy. We rode into Paracas which had been recommended and were immediately hassled by touts, we ignored them and made our way to the hostel which had been recommended but it was full so we doubled back to a hotel I’d seen earlier, it was full also the girl told me, I went outside to discuss tactics with Fiona and the girl came out and said they did have a room and there is secure parking, we ride around and the car park guy refuses to let us in because its full, much shouting and the girl runs out to tell him to let us in.
We sat and had a coffee whilst they got the room ready and when we went back to the bikes some kid had sat on the mudguard beak at the front probably for a photo and broken it , I was pretty angry but nothing to do but bodge it for now. We both decide we don’t like Peru now.