Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Punta Sal to Chiclayo, Peru

Great hosts and really good people!

Hotel El Sol

10:30 p.m.

When I woke this morning, there was no water and no electricity. Pepe said the water truck was on its way. Apparently, the electricity was shut off so they could install a new transformer for the town.

Pepe has a gas stove, so we were able to have coffee and some rolls with preserves for breakfast. Before departing, we took some photos with the motorcycle. On the road after 10:00.

Pepe's ready for the road

Pepe's friend and assistant, Delia Peña. Delia was ready to join me.

I don't like to dwell on it, but it's everywhere. As far as the eye can see, heaps of trash. Which generation is going to clean it up?

Mancora was only half an hour away. Pepe said I would find a bank there. But it was beginning to look doubtful, when I spotted an ATM machine near the west end of town. I felt much better with some local currency in my pocket. In this town I also saw an unusual sight: caucasians! Mancora appears to be a tourist destination. The beach is lined with rustic resorts, with surfers, kite-boarders and para-sailors out in (and over) the water.

In Mancora, Peru, two common sights: moto-taxis and juguerias. For about 30 cents, you can have a glass of fresh orange, pineapple or grapefruit juice. Wonderful!

Stopped at a roadside stand for a fresh fruit juice, orange and pineapple blended together. Afterwards, I went looking for gas, and came upon a familiar face: Anne was rolling into town, driving toward me! After refueling, we stopped to have a soda. She said she saw my name in the log right above hers at the aduana office. We decided to ride south together.

Guess who I ran into in Mancora? It's Anne ("Anna Moto Diva")!

In Piura, we stopped for gas and some snacks. I saw a "Nestle" candy display and asked for "one of each", about 10 different chocolate bars. And I had to try the "Inca Cola", "El sabor de Peru." The yellow soda tastes like a mix of (artificial) banana and pineapple. A group of kids kept us company as we sat outside the mini-market.

Though the country we passed through was primarily desert, when we came upon the Chira and Piura Rivers, the surrounding plains were covered with irrigated rice paddies and lines of coconut palms.

Near Sullana, I stopped to photograph some very poor neighborhoods, when a northbound motorcyclist pulled over to chat. We met Asaf Admoni, a young Israeli fellow, with a black patch over one eye. The locals have already nicknamed him "El Pirata", the pirate. He was riding a brand new Honda 200cc dirt bike, which he purchased in Lima, and now intends to ride north into Central America and Mexico. He was carrying very little in the way of gear. After exchanging e-mail addresses and Anne providing him some contacts up the road, we were all on our way.

Around Sullana, Peru, Anne and I ran into Asaf Admoni, a young Israeli fellow, who flew to Venezuela with friends to back-pack through Central America. Then he decided to come to Lima, Peru, buy a 200cc Honda, then see the northern portion of South America and Central America on a motorcycle. He's packing about a quarter of the stuff that I have.

Anne and Asaf exchange e-mail addresses.

A hard ride late in the afternoon, with strong crosswinds coming off the ocean, blowing sand across the highway. We drove at 70 mph much of the time, trying to make time across this barren stretch of Desierto de Sechura. Anne's 650GS handled the conditions as easily as the 1200GS.

Note: we are traveling for roughly the same time period, but Anne and I have different ideas about how much "stuff" is required.

The northbound inter-city buses, with their nice upper deck seats clearly visible through the broad windshield looked really comfy! It wouldn't be a bad way to go.

A chilly afternoon, full of dramatic landscapes and amazing sand dune formations.

The Desierto de Sechura, along the northern Peruvian coast. I've never seen so much sand as in Peru! The Andes are being blown back ashore in granular form!

We arrived in Chiclayo at dark, following signs into the downtown district. At the first hotel we came to, the "El Sol", I watched the bikes as Anne went to check on rooms. 35 Solés, a little over $10. Not bad. After unloading and storing the bikes in the back courtyard, we followed the desk clerk's suggestion, walking to "El Hebron" restaurant, about 15 minutes away.

A very nice up-scale café, we enjoyed excellent steaks, some not-so-excellent wine and (for me) a big chocolate cake for dessert. The steak was actually better than those I had while visiting Jeff in Vermont!

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