We had climbed back up to around 4000m and the landscape was bleak, a lake or two, with a flamingo here and there, broke the monotony of grass and rocks. The sun shone but in the distance dark grey clouds threatened. It was here that my bike decided it didnít want to play anymore! It just died out, as if from lack of fuel. We had only done 350kms and normally I can get at least 450kms from my tank. On reserve we managed a few more kilometres, then no more. So, Arno rode off to the next town, 52 kms away, Puquio, while I waited in the middle of nowhere, with only the occasional lorry thundering by for company.
Arno fills a coke bottle with fuel as the hailstones fall.
At first I enjoyed the silence, sitting in the shade of by bike. As I watched however, the sun soon disappeared and the black clouds came my way. It didnít rain, it hailed, long and hard, my bike wasnít much protection and I was huddled next to it wearing all my kit, helmet included when Arno returned. He gave me some petrol and we continued, so unfortunately did the rain. Iím sure it followed us, along one valley after another. Eventually we reached the desert, left the clouds and rain behind and rode towards the clear blue sky over Nazca where it almost never rains.
Arno took a flight over the lines, while I was ill again. There was no way I was going up in a small plane with no toilet, didnít want to be lynched by the other passengers!! I did get to see some of the lines from the lookout tower though, and Arno got to see some mummies, in the pre Inca graveyard just outside of town.
Near the lookout tower in the desert, Nazca
We really wanted to ride north and see more of Peru, despite all the stories of theft and rip-offs, we have really enjoyed the country and haven't encountered any problems whatsoever. However, our time is getting shorter, the budget getting lower and insuranceís coming to an end. We donít want to fly through the north of Argentina at the speed of light, so from Nazca, we rode south to Arequipa.
An amazing road as it turned out, first through the desert, where in the valleys, the monotonous sand and rock was replaced with groves of olives around Yauca and fields of rice paddies at OcoŮa. Near Chala, the road then wound spectacularly along the coast, sometimes next to the ocean, at other times high above. My bike decided to play up again, this time I had plenty of fuel, so looked like a problem with the carburettor. Twiddled a few things and gave it a knock with a screwdriver and we were on our way again. Arequipa was still 150kms away, as dusk approached, so decided to stay the night in the small seaside town of CalamŠ.
Took our time over breakfast the next morning, only a ride of 150kms, should get us into Peruís second biggest city in time for an early lunch. We reckoned with out Black Betty however. We were all packed up ready to go, but the BMW wouldnít start!! No sign of life. Tried bumping her down the kerb, nothing! So, out on the street, Arno started dismantling stuff, to find the problem. A few neighbours stood around and watched, soon to be joined by what seemed to be half the town.
A crowd watches Arno working on his bike
After a couple of hours, Arno was all out of ideas, he had tried everything. The owner of the hostal, kindly went and fetched a bike mechanic and an electrician. The latter seemed to know what he was doing and after a while, had the problem sorted. Bare wires in one of the cable trees, so off he and Arno went to his workshop to repair it. The crowd dispersed, only to gather again when Arno was putting the whole lot back together again.
We reached Arequipa at around 4pm, the traffic was crazy, many junctions had no signals or control of any kind and were gridlocked. We managed to creep our way through and stopped at the first hostel on our list that had parking. A day in the city was enough, saw what there was to see and headed for the countryside once again.
El Misti volcano near Arequipa
An overland truck driver, staying in the hostel had given us some great road info, we wanted to ride back towards Lake Titicaca, via Colca Canyon and were not sure which route to take. He told us that there is a new road from Arequipa to Juliaca, fully paved! Thatís the sort of info I like!
Also from this road is the turnoff to the Canyon, some of the way paved, some not, but all ok. Sure enough, the road out of Arequipa was paved and smooth, at the 78 km mark, we turned off and headed towards Chivay and the canyon.
Llamas, on the way to the Colca Canyon
Had to climb over another pass over 400metres, but the road was reasonable and we were in Chivay for lunch. The minibuses filled with tourists began to arrive, they were to spend the night here, then get up at some unspeakable hour and drive to a lookout point, where if lucky a condor or 2 can be spotted. We decided to do something else Ė no surprise there then! Still had the whole afternoon, so rode towards a village called Cabanaconde, another 60kms or so into the canyon.Posted by Sian Mackenzie at November 15, 2003 04:48 PM GMT
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