Monday, March 22, 2010

Chincha Alta to Huarmey - March 21

Today we began our run up the coast of Peru.  It's good timing, as we'll pass through Lima with Sunday morning traffic (no place for anyone with the slightest self-preservation instinct to ride a motorcycle).
The landscape on this northbound route varies from dusty rock to massive sand dunes 100 or more feet high, intersperced with green river deltas with small agricultural communities and a multitude of fruit and vegetable stands along the roadside.
With the Pacific ocean just off to our left, every now and then we were presented with a spectacular vista of surf, sand and rock.

The Panamerica Norte into Lima is a four to six lane divided highway, the first we have seen since leaving Buenos Aires over 13,000km's ago.  As we rode closer to Centro Lima, we zigged when we should have zagged at a Y in the road and ended up off the main highway.  I needed to upload new maps to the GPS, so we pulled into an open and empty parking area to do that before continuing.  In the meantime, Petra struck up a conversation with a group of young people in their Sunday best.  None of them drive, so directions weren't forthcoming until I opened the GPS map on the netbook.  Beatriz was quickly able to point out where we were, and showus a straightforward route back to the Panamerica.

One of the kids had gone to fetch their Pastor, an American Mormon, who was able to speak to us in english.  He told us once we were on the Panamerica, "don't stop for the next 10 or 15km's, because it's a very bad area."  Helpful advice, but nothing my eyes didn't tell me as we rode along!

Lima Centro is beautiful, and I regret not passing through it, but it's just too difficult to navigate two bikes through traffic.  We spent the next 20km's exiting the city in a rugby match with collectivos and mini-buses, eventually stopping for lunch at an open air restaurant in Chancay.
I had Lenguado, a prehistoric looking fish with a mouthful of teeth from the Sole family - grilled and then lightly fried - a house specialty and delicious.  The picante salsa on the side was like molten lava!
We continued north through more impressive dunes and a mini-sandstorm, eventually stopping in Huarmey for the night. 
The hotel lobby doubled as a parking garage for the night.

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