Friday, May 25, 2007

More friends from along the way.

We'd like you to meet some more of the great people we've met in the last couple of weeks in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The revolution can be hired!

We are in argentina where wednesday is demonstration day. So once again we had a number of road blockings with the thorny bushes, tree limbs, burning tires and a new twist, a railroad push cart!

Apparently every wednesday there are demonstrations and you can even hire people to sit and protest for you. This explained a number of women knitting at one roadblock.

Argentina is much like rural america maybe colorado or wyoming. The difference netween bolivia and here is amazing, greater than between the US and Mexico.

We are travelling with two germans on africa twins, tom and christine. They are finishing up 9 months of travels around southern south america.

We had lunch with them and two great argentines, also on africa twins, yesterday. We took the requisite group photo and my trip was made when one of the guys called me "che" and told us to visit him in Cordoba. ("Che" is a friendly argentinean term for a fellow compenearo)

Off for another 350 k's today

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Argentine border

Knock, knock
Who is there?
Bolivia who?

We made it through Bolivia. Amazing desolate scenery through the mountains, deserts and Salar. We traveled 7 hard hours yesterday to go 130 miles. Clara had a number of spills, and I ended up on my side as well. We had to negotiate mountain passes, unmarked roads and even ride 2 kilometers up a muddy river. In 7 hours we saw 18 other vehicles.
That's not to mention the sand dunes which took over the road, the ghost towns and the constant rippled road which is exacting its toll on our bikes.

We went the final 60 miles to the border today in 3 hours which included a flat tire repair on my bike.

There is sign here at the border that says it is 5121 km to Ushuaia. We won't make it this time. We need to be in Caracas by the beginning of July which means some hard riding ahead after we get new tires in Buenas Aires.

Bolivia is very poor and cheap. In 6 days we struggled to spend $300. Dinner of ubuquitous chicken, rice and french fries is less than a dollar a plate.

The scenery is fantastic. Snow capped mountains, deep river canyons with dried river beds, beautiful alpacas and llamas all around, we even saw a pair of ostriches or something similar running across an empty plain after drinking at a mirror flat planer pond.

The people are friendly when asked but don't go out of the way. As one person said to us they seem to not care if tourists are there or not.

We just got approved to get into argy! (After 3 people putzed for an hour and a half)

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

The best laid plans...

Today began like many other days on the trip. Kevin and I woke up early after a good night's sleep in the small town of Challapata. We had eaten well the night before and had even attended a "revolutionary" meeting of local famers who were organizing a protest to demand sovereignty, power, and dignity among other things. After the rally we headed to the only hotel in town and made our travel plans for the next day with the help of the hotel owner, Raul.
So the plan for the day was to ride hard until we reached the tourist town of Uyuni situated just miles from the famous salt flats. But what is the saying about the best laid plans? Anyway, ride hard we did but not in the way we expected!
The day's ride began a bit iffy as we rode from dirt road with huge holes to perfectly paved road and back to dirt road with loose gravel and intermittent sand pits and small creeks within the span of an hour. In fact, I am using the word road very loosly here as evidenced by the fact that at one point we briefly lost the tracks and had to be directed back to the "road" by a worker who happenned to be nearby.
About an hour and a half into our morning ride we went over some train tracks that were protruding quite high from the dirt and as I crossed as slowly as I felt I could I heard a loud clang. I thought that I had hit my kickstand again as I had done one time in a similar situation back in Ecuador so I thought nothing of it and continued. However, not five minutes later I noticed that my bike was pulling to the left and I was having a difficult time stearing. I rode like that for the next ten minutes or so thinking that it was maybe the wind that was giving me such difficulties. But when we reached a tiny town I slowed down to tell Kevin about the trouble I was having and that is when he noticed that my front tire was flat. Kevin's bike had already lost a part as a result of our rough morning ride and now this! We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere in a town with about 10 houses, half of which looked deserted and only a brief glimpse of a campesino here and there. Kevin wasted no time getting to work on diagnosing the problem and trying to fix it, but about one hour later he concluded that there was nothing he could do to completely fix the tire or even rigg it so that I could safely ride it to our final destination. So after assessing our situation: middle of nowhere, long way to go on very bad road, no one to seek help from (one truck had passed our way in the last hour and the driver had refused to help, and the one man in town willing to help was asking for an outrageous amount of money that I refused to give on principle), and precious time ticking away; and considering all the options, we decided to take the tire off the bike, store the bike and some of our stuff in the small courtyard of one of the few inhabited houses (with the owner's permission and after having to assure her a number of times that we would be back for the bike) and ride to our original destination with hopes of finding a friendly hotel owner we had been told about and getting the tire fixed.
So this was the scene for the next three hours: Kevin riding his bike with me as a passenger holding on for dear life to my tire. Kevin rode like a pro on the challenging path but it and his load proved even too challenging for him at times and on three occasions Kevin, his bike, his wife and her tire all ended up opn the ground. The first spill hapenned after crossing a stream and trying to maneuver up the sandy and rocky embankment. The bike tipped over to the right sending me and the tire flying. I landed smack on my left shoulder and heard a "pop" and felt a sharp pain, I immediately sat up and heard another pop and felt another sharp pain. Kevin rushed to my side as tears were streaming down my dusty hemet covered face. He asked me if I was OK and I told him that I didn't know so he sat there and held my had and told me that he loved me while I assessed my physical situation. Within a minute the sharp pain had subsided and my fears and panic dissipated as I moved my shoulder about. We both took a breath, picked ourselves up, drank some water and hopped back on the bike to continue our 100 mile ride at about 30 miles per hour.
The other two falls came courtesy of deep powdery sand and resulted in minor bumps. After each, we just dusted off, re-arranged ourselves on the bike and continued on the dusty, rocky, sandy road to Uyuni.
About 10 miles from the city we finally ran into a trucker going in our direction. At this point my arms were tired from holding the tire steady and my legs sore from supporting it so I was very happy when the driver agreed to take me and my tire the rest of the way...even if it did take us 30 minutes to get there!
Kevin had driven ahead of the truck after stopping for gas and we had agreed to meet at the first tire repair shop in town. However it took me so long to get there that Kevin actually had time to go to the hotel we had been told about (Tonitos), find the friendly American owner (Chris) and ask him for some help. By the time I rolled into town in the truck, Kevin and Chris were waiting for me at the edge of town.
I jumped out of the truck after thanking the truck driver and his wife for their kindness and giving them a monetary thank you as well. We took the tire to get fixed and decided that the best course of action would be for Kevin to take the 8pm bus back to the town where we left the bike, spend the night there in his tent and drive the bike to Uyuni tomorrow morning.
So right now Kevin is on the way to fetch my bike and I am in bed at the hotel. It certainly wasn't the day we had planned, but there was fun, beauty, drama, intrigue, excitement, and even some woohoos, and on a trip like this, sometimes it just doesn't get any better.
I miss him and I love him and on days like this, he is my hero!
Tomorrow, the salt flats...or, who knows!!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

On the road to the Bolivian Salt flats, in challapata

We are at the end of the paved road from La Paz to Uyuni, did about 220 miles today
after the Brazilian embassy lied to Clara about getting our visas and we wasted the morning there. There is a definite anti-american vibe with some people here in south america. There is also definitely an anti-spanish vibe, which was confirmed by a great spanish couple from bilbao whom we spent a couple days with on the islands in Titicaca, Eva and Jaro.

Our hotel tonight will cost almost 8 dollars, plus 36 cents extra to park our bikes in a secure storage. Bolivia is clearly the poorest country to date. Some shoe shine boys who showed me the way to the bathroom at lunch today were very grateful when I gave them my left over french fries and they gnawed away at my left over chicken breast, and then fed the remains of that to their dog. A good shoeshine for motorcycle boots is 25 cents. The boys even were honest with us and pointed out that the chicken restaurant woman over charged us. Normally the meal is 7 boles (88 cents) but she took advantage of us and charged us 8 boles, which is one dollar! We confronted her, and she just made up an excuse about giving us real potatoes with our food!

The scenery from the sacred valley in Peru until here has been flat altaplano between mountain rages, width of which ranges from half a mile to several miles. The ground is reddish dirt, which gives the sheep an interesting pinkish tone to their wool. Today the dirt started turning white, the remnants of great salt lake which was here millions of years ago. The air is really thin and we get winded going up just a couple flights of stairs. The bikes are hard to start in the morning, and they don´t have much power but once up to speed we cruised at about 75 mph today seeing another vehicle about every 5 minutes. Deep, clear blue sky behind the old, rounded off mountain peaks on either side of us, and flat lakes which look like mirage´s in the distance. La Paz is the home of the red block building, even more than the red bricks in Boston. This style is similar in the cities and towns of Bolivia, but in the countryside it is the same as Peru: mud brick homes with mortar of brown mud. Many, many, maybe 75 percent of the mud homes we passed today are abandoned with no roofs. There is not much here except some minor wheat and grain farming, and sheep, llama, and cattle grazing on the stumps of grass here and there on the altaplano.

It looks like all dirt roads and salt flats from here to Chile, maybe a few days, so I think I am going to try and figure out the GPS tonight.

Spiderman 3 is out on DVD here on the streets for about $1.50. I was a bit disappointed in Peru, it took them 4 days after the release to have bootleg copies on the streets. You hear all about China and copyright violations but from Mexico to hear, I´ve only seen two legitimate stores that sell cd´s and dvd´s. Instead every city and town has street vendors which sell them for around 2 dollars.

Go Sox! (by the way I have a whole story about red sox-yankees. About 90 percent of the baseball caps down here are yankees hats, it is very depressing. However, I´m having a great time letting the Yanks fans know about their last place position!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Greetings to Bolivia!!!

knock, knock,
who is there?
peru, who

and it couldnt have happened soon enough.

i coined a poem:

Peru, Peru
Malayuyu a tu (pronounced ¨´mall a jew jew´¨
your scenery is beautiful,
too bad
the people
try to screw you
peru, peru
good thing the inkas
were here
or no one would come
to visit you

When we woke up this morning, after being kept up till midnight by student
protests, singing, fireworks and shouting, we were told that the students would be barricading all the roads for the next two days. So we didn´t have breakfast to try and get out of town ASAP. Sure enough, there were remnants of the street blockings and battles for the next 30 miles. Broken glass in the roads, burnt
spots on the tarmac and rocks and stones strewn around. Lovely.

My last 3 minutes in Peru summed up my whole trip there. As I was standing by my motorcycle in front of the rope that seperates peru from bolivia, a man came up to me and started talking in a friendly manner. Asked about my bike, and how I liked
the country, and thanks for visiting. I was thinking to myself ¨"it figures that a nice person from peru comes up to me right at the end of my trip to try and give me a good impression of the country, in the last minute before I leave" I told him "buenas dias" he wished me good luck and I turned around to walk my bike under the rope (as many locals had been doing) and proceed to Bolivia. Just then a guy comes over to me and says "5 soles to pass the rope!" I looked at him and just gave a less Big laugh, said "no way" to him, turned my bike around and walked it around the outside of the rope gate. He came over to me again trying to get 5 soles I just looked at him and said "no, senor" started my bike and crossed the bridge to Bolivia where a sign stating "efficiency and transparency" stood next to the entry station. I took a picture of smiled, and gave out a Woohoo! I´m in the right mind frame to enjoy this country and so far it has been great. Beautiful road, incredible mountains with snow capped peaks and che guevara books on sale on the corner in LA PAZ.

life is good.

MALAYUYU a Tu, Peru!!!
(it is a panamanian saying that means bad luck)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lake titicaca

We are on a boat on lake titicaca. We just visited the uros floating reed islands. Much pollution this side of the lake. We finally met someone really nice in Peru....and he was Bolivian!

Don't trust anyone or anything in peru, but the sights are incredible. Clara ended up in a disgusting rut yesterday filled with street sewage. She and the bike smelled worse than the many PERUVIAN FISH factories which meant we got to clean the bikes in puno, and a clean bike is a happy bike! We can't wait to goto Bolivia hopefully wednesday.

Were about to offer some coco leaves to the mother god of lake titicaca....beavis and buttheads favorite lake, the highest navihgable lake in the world.
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Saturday, May 12, 2007


After getting on the earliest possible train to Machu Picchu we arrived at the site at 8am after a one-and-a-half hour ride, and to our surprise there were already quite a bit of people there (about 100). No worries though, the ruins are big enough to accomodate a substantial amount of people (probably 1000) and still have a comfortable feel.
We spent the rest of the day between the Machu Picchu ruins and hiking the neighboring ruins of Wayna Picchu. The views are really breathtaking and spectacular, and as usual pictures cannot convey the tru beauty of what we saw in person.
The treck through Wayna Picchu turned a bit hairy for us when Kevin decided that he wanted to take the road less traveled on the way back. This put us in the position of having to climb all the way around the giant mountain in order to get back to base camp, and added about two hours to our expedition. In addition, it was up hill most of the way so I literally felt as if I had been chained to a stairmaster for three hours!! By the last 45 minutes, my right leg was giving out and I was frustrated by what seemed to be our lack of progress toward base camp. I was out of breath because of the altitude and the exhaustion and I was getting snappy with Kevin, frankly I felt like wringing his neck at times but I just didn't have the energy. Then suddenly, we turend a corner and we could finally see our final destination.
We descended the mountain just in time to catch our 2:30 train back to our hotel in Ollantaytambo where I promptly collapsed on the bed for a recovery nap. The visit to this amazing site is definitely worth it, but it is an expensive expedition: round trip train tickets $56/ea, entrance fee $40/ea, bus transfer $6/ spent at Macchu Picchu: Priceles!!!
We are now in the lovely colonial city of Cusco where we procured a great comfortable hotel with true hot water on call and fluffy soft pillows. We did the day tour of the city and surrounding ruins yesterday and today we will walk the rest of the city and at 6pm we have tickets to go to the Big soccer game in town. Woohoo!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

On the train to maccu pichu

We are moving!

On the 5:45 am train to the mythical tourist trap of machu picchu after surviving giant mud slides and riding through the subsequent new river yesterday.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Amazing Day in Peru in the Andes--old story from Ecuador

Today was the best ride of the whole trip so far. 200 miles from Poquio to Aranapa in the Andes Mountains. Clear deep blue sky, beautiful road, snow capped mountains, wild beautiful fluffy llamas running about from 4000 meter high plateau ranges with snow and ice and shallow lakes, through, a huge 80 mile ravine with a gorgeous mountain stream running alongside the road, switching back and forth, seeing other vehicles once every 10 to 20 minutes. A lot of WOOOHOOOO's, a lot of pictures, and finally some positive vibes about Peru.

On that note, here is a story I wrote a while ago about a great time in Ecuador:

Quito, Ecuador

We arrived into Quito last night aboard the least friendly skies of American Airlines. We stayed at a hotel that we found on Expedia that is twice the rate of comparable hotels. It was quite nice but for $72 a night you should get something special in South America, not just a 10 x 10 room with a TV on a bracket by the ceiling, and a pleasant bathroom.
Quito is a city of around 3 million people, about 7,000 feet above sea level which is taller than Mt. Washington. It is located in a valley, surrounded by cloud topped green mountains and volcanoes. From March to June it rains nearly daily, as it is now. We are waiting in the custom brokers office trying to get our motorcycles cleared by the officials. We got to see the bikes this morning and they are in fine shape, ready to be put together and head out on the road.

The city has a worn in, but comfortable look, with clean streets and people, (like Barack Obama!) very friendly, with the roads laid out in an understandable grid. It is the largest city I’ve been to with the least amount of bustle. There are some nice plazas and parks in the “Old Town”, but nothing particularly special. The most interesting site so far has been the basilica that was started in the 1600’s and is not finished yet. It makes the Big Dig look like an Extremely Fast Makeover. It is a huge place, reminiscent of Notre Dame, with the structure in place, but missing windows, ornamentation, or any warmth or charm at all. There is still rebar sticking out from ramparts all around where gargoyles and other adornments should go. I’ve never seen anything like it, it has no charm or relation to the two and three story buildings around it, but it does elicit a certain fascination.

A word of caution: since we have started getting into more so called sophisticated places such as Panama City and here in Quito, you can tell certain locals are trying to charge inflated prices to the tourists, for example our hotel last night. The worst example are the taxi cabs. Always ask before you get in the cab how much it is to go to your destination. We had a taxi this morning that charged us $20 for what should have been a $6 cab ride. They have a way of manipulating the electronic meter. Most decent cabbies, you can say “how much to the Grand Plaza?” and they will say “6 bucks”. If they start to give you a line, tell them you’ll take another taxi. Our return taxi was $5, and we are staying in a charming downtown hotel with central hacienda garden for $32

The best parts of roadtrips are always the unexpected things that happen. For example the amazing road we took yesterday through the Andes mountains. On our trip to Mitad del Mundo I saw a sign for Otavalo to the right off of the main road. Since signage in this part of the world is rare, I made the assumption that the sign must indicate the most direct way to Otavalo, known for having one of the great Saturday markets which pre-dates even the Inca times. NOT!

People had told us it takes about an hour to get there from Quito, and I should have known something was up as soon as we turned at the Otavalo exit and found craters in the pavement, followed within a quarter of a mile by a dirt road. Within a mile we had already asked three people for directions, and received what should have been another hint when a guy told us it was two and half hours away. I figured I misunderstood his Spanish, and kept going even when the road turned to sand a few blocks ahead. Soon we were out of town and climbing the mountains on packed gravel, a gorgeous valley down to our right, high peaks all around and cotton ball clouds clinging to the green pastureland rising up the mountains.

The air was thin and clean, as we went higher and higher, the only traffic a couple of 6 wheelers hauling gravel down the road in the opposite direction. We took the first of several wrong turns and ended up just a few hundred yards from a peak, in a quarry where barking dogs and a front end loader did not make us feel welcome. However the foreman was quite nice, and took us to the edge of the precipice where the whole valley laid out in front of us and gave us the directions for the next few miles.

Eventually we came around the corner of that mountain and a whole steep valley laid out before us, a rushing muddy river at the bottom of the steep slopes on either side. The road zigged and zagged down one side and up another, with an unseen bridge hopefully joining the two. No warm blooded life forms to be seen just mountain greens, 10 foot tall bonsai looking trees, and the occasional field of yellow flowers. By now the road was down to a single lane and it was hard to believe that many tourists came this way on their way to Otavalo, supposedly one of the biggest tourist attractions in Ecuador. But they were the losers, as we had this beautiful area all to ourselves. We stopped a few more times to snap pictures, Clara falling over in the soft road, matching my bike drop back in the loose rock at the quarry.

We navigated the occasional boulder and mud slide, and were passed by one truck going the other way on our trip to the bottom where sure enough a bridge awaited. We took more pictures before heading up the other side. Going up is much easier than going down, and more fun, and we quickly were rising and yelling “woohoo” in our respective helmets. At the top of the hill we found a paved road into a village and asked the directions, “up to the right” was the easy reply and we thought we were on easy street. Wrong again.

We climbed the hill and came to the standard highland town, wet and misty, with a Parque Central with the church overlooking it and a one way road encircling it. I asked a woman the way to Otavalo and she pointed down a road which again turned to mud and pits in about 4 blocks. A short older man with a machete was coming up the hill on what was fast becoming a dirt path. He barely understood us in the pouring rain, clearly Spanish was his second language, as is common with many of the indigenous folks in Ecuador in particular, and South America in general. He began using his machete as a pointing stick, waving it around to show the direction to go. During one emphatic point, he nearly decapitated two youngsters coming up the path on a dirt bike who looked at us like we were laying some confusing trap for them! We turned around again and headed
Along the path that yet another person told us was about 2 hours to Otavalo.

The road was now a two track path with the typical country combination of mud, stone and grass. We went down some steep rutted areas, got chased by some dogs, passing sparse farms on either side, usually made of concrete block houses, fence posts of tree limbs delineated with barbed wire, with a few cows, scattered chickens and well laid out plots of crops. The scenery was now more lush, when we could see it through the clouds, with a less steep green valley below us, and continual forested mountain above.
We came to a river crossing where a man was loading rocks into the back of his mini-suv from where the cliff met the river. Clara powered by the two of us, not wanting to stop until she was through, just missing the both of us by inches. The gentleman gave directions in mixed Spanish and English, “keep going to the left, through about 3 turns, when you come to a pyramid stay left, and when you cross the bridge go to the right.” My Spanish has been getting better and it turns out those directions were essentially correct. However, we got off track again where we went over a tiny bridge, obviously in retrospect not the bridge mentioned previously bilungually, which sent us into the tiniest town yet which we circled once in order to get directions and to stop the schoolyard volleyball game which froze in abject amazement to watch us pass.

We now found ourselves on a stone road, which could easily have been laid by the Incas with just drainage gutters added on the edges millennia later. The stones seem to be pounded into the ground in random patterns, with two straight lines delineating the one lane road about 5 meters wide into thirds. After we quickly passed a beer truck(!), we wouldn’t see another vehicle until reaching the before mentioned bridge where a motorcycle was changing his swingarm. In between, we had great fun, both of us yelling YOO HOO, as we switched back and forth, up and down, through sweet smelling virgin forest all alone on our own path in nirvana. We were in the clouds, above the clouds, in the mist, the rain, the clear seeing constantly changing beauty, our motorcycles providing the running track making it endlessly fascinating.

At one point we stopped for pictures and I said to Clara, “I’m sure when we reach this place there is going to be a 4 lane highway to Quito, and it will take about an hour to get there.” Sure enough, once we passed the side of the road rear suspension changers, we were on a perfectly paved 4 lane road which took us right into town, where we still had an hour or so to enjoy this fascinating Saturday market which pre dates even the Inca times. We ended up finding potential beads for New Orleans, a $15 wool sweater for Clara, many interesting gifts, foods, people, and ideas and ended up enjoying excellent local food and sleeping in a pleasant hotel with an extremely friendly host.

The best roads are always the ones less traveled. Certainly in Ecuador.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Things are looking up for Peru.

Today will mark our second consecutive day in Peru without a negative incident...knock on wood!
We left Lima yesterday after procuring a new good quality helpmet to protect Kevin's noggin. Our destination was Pisco, but on the way there we met a very nice couple when we stopped for lunch and they suggested that we stay in nearby Paracas. We followed their advice because it is the right thing to do when someone buys you desert and it turned out very well.
This morning we took an early tour to the Ballesta Islands 20km off the coast of Paracas. These islands are known as "the poor man's Galapagos" and the excursion was well worth the price of admission: Beautiful waters, lots of feathered friends to look at, sea lions, and even penguins!
Tomorrow we are scheduled for a 10:30am flight over the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Don't come to Peru!

Well we keep trying to give this country a chance. But really this place is just an assault on your senses. The eyes are affronted by trash, the nose is attacked by fish, feces and fester, the ears with a constant cacophony of horns from yellow daewoo taxis, people are always touching and feeling looking for something to steal, and the corrupt police who pulled us over 3 times in an hour to try and extort money leave such a bad taste in the mouth that Clara refuses to speak spanish out of her pretty lips anymore.

Greetings from lima, capital shantytown.
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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Day 65: A new helmet for Kevin and new hope for Peru!

So, yesterday we left the city of Piura, Peru looking for better luck as we head south toward Lima.
We woke up early and found Kevin a new $5(US) helmet, then hit the road around 9:30am. However, we did not get very far. By 11:00am we had only been able to get about 5 miles down the Panamerican highway because every mile or so, we had to stop at makeshift tree roadblocks put together by the local farmers who were protesting the high prices of the farming equipment and chemicals they have to buy and the low prices they get paid for their crop. At each roadblock, I would have to approach one of the farmers and ask to be let through explaining that we were tourists and although we had nothing to do with their conflict we supported their struggle but were eager to get to our destination. This tactic worked at four blocks where we were allowed to go around the blocks through the sand embankments, but our luck ran out at the fifth and largest roadblock where there was no way around and the farmers refused to let us through.
We decided that the best course of action would be to go back to Piura and wait for the demonstrations to be over. We went back through one block and stopped. As Kevin and I surveyed the map and reviewed our options for travel for the day, the national police showed up and told us to be patient while they cleared the road of demonstrators and debris. The police convoy passed us and began to clear the roadway by dispersing the farmers with tear gas. Unfortunately, we were downwind and the gas reached us before we had time to react. In no time, Kevin's eyes were red and he could barely see. My eyes were protected by my full-face helmet but my nose and throat began to burn. We quickly turned our bikes around and headed away from the gas. WOW, no wonder that stuff is so effective, it is really potent and fast-acting!
By 11:45am, we had followed the police through the clearing of the two final roadblocks and were finally on our way.
We drove for about 5 hours through the desert fighting a mighty and unrelenting wind, stopping only for lunch and two pictures in order to make up for lost time. By the time we reached the city of Trujillo my arms were tense and tired from holding on to the handlebars for dear life in order to prevent from being blown right off my bike. We reached the central plaza of the city only to find a different group of demonstrators blocking one of the main roads. I'm all for free speech and the right to gather and voice your differences, but really at that point I had had just about enough of the revolution!
Today, we woke up well rested and after Kevin worked on the internet for a couple of hours we headed off to see two sites of interest: the ruins of one of the largest sand cities in the world and the pyramids of the sun and the moon.
The sand ruins are known as Chan Chan and they were impressive in that they are unlike anything we have seen so far. There are nine complexes built by the Chimors beginning in the 9th century A.D. but only one of them has been excavated and restored so far, the Palacio Tshudi. The temple of the sun and moon are at the opposite end of Trujillo. The official excavation and restoration began only in the 1990s and although they have uncovered a lot they still have a lot of work to do, including the whole of the temple of the sun!
Today was a good day and it helped improve our morale as far as our view of Peru is concerned. I'm hoping that with each day that goes by in Peru, the damage of the first couple of days fades and we can chalk the bad experiences up to bad luck rather than common occurrence.
Finally, I would like to mention that this region of Peru has the ugliest dogs I have ever seen!!! However, though unquestionably ugly, apparently these dogs have healing qualities have because they have a very high body temperature that makes them helpful in the treatment of several body ailments including arthritis. Sometimes the cure is worse than the ailment indeed!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007



Ecuador who?


We are 2 days into Peru, and it is not pretty. My great helmet stolen yesterday, camera stolen today, have seen more trash in 2 hours than in 10 days in Ecuador. Oh and we got tear gassed today because of the farmers blockading the panamerican highway.

Ecuador was wonderful, beautiful, undiscovered.

We are in Trujillo, and we are hoping for better.