33 - PERU
Arequipa to Cusco - 24/08/04 - 27/08/04
We left Arequipa and headed back to Nasca along the coast road again. The weather was better this time. We stopped at the same place we had before and gave Spiderman a finger puppet of himself we'd bought in Arequipa.
We arrived back in Nasca as it went dark. Dan had arrived in town, so we met him for a drink and planned our next few days riding.......to Cusco. In our usual Dan reunion style we stayed out far to late to leave the next day, instead we went for a ride in the Nasca desert. The mountains are stunning as they rise from the plain and it was good to do the twisty roads with out the spare tyres hanging off the panniers. It's quite scary when they touch the road.
We arranged to meet Dan at nine in the morning and he arrived right on time. We weren’t quite ready so he went off to find brake fluid, having a few problems. It was strange to be riding with someone else, to suddenly be three. We hadn’t ridden with anyone for the whole trip or in fact for years. Last time was a trip to Cornwall with Paul and Sandra about ten years ago.
I think we were all a little apprehensive but the road, the scenery, the weather were all so amazing we soon forgot it. We were hardly out of Nasca before we just had to stop to take pictures and it went on all day. We travelled through constantly changing landscapes, each as beautiful as the last.
Dan needed pics of him riding for the mag and there was no shortage of great places. We were so lucky with the weather too. JB had done the same journey the week before, had nearly frozen and found snow. We just had blue skies, fluffy clouds and sunshine.
Great excitement when we found our first herd of Llamas, lots of pictures. In the end we had to decide we had enough Llama pics or we would have been stopping every ten minutes. Desert, mountains, Llamas, blue blue lakes, flamingos, sunshine and motorbikes…….cool.
We arrived in Chalhuanca with about two hours of light left. Decided to carry on to Abancay and luckily the road straightened out as we went through a valley. Much warmer too, we had been up to 15,000 ft.
It was dark when we arrived but we managed to find somewhere to stay very quickly, showered and went to eat. It was a strange meal, no idea what we ate, I just remember laughing a lot about nothing. Just happy. It had been an amazing day.
We set off early the next day and were climbing immediately, back in to the mountains. Dan was having trouble with his brakes and was really not happy. The roads were very twisty, really not the place to lose confidence in your brakes. Lots of stops for pictures and brake cooling. More amazing scenery everywhere.
Ended up stopping, removing the callipers from Dan’s front wheel to find out what was up. Monkey mechanics couldn’t find anything so they went back on. Not before Dan had managed to squeeze the brake lever whilst R had the calliper in his hand….ace!
We then had to cross a river, made Dan go first, very handy this riding with someone else. Went round the corner and he was stopped again. “Can you spot what’s wrong now?” he asked. We just stood and looked……….."What?"
He pointed and we saw that the whole rear light section and number plate had fallen out and were resting on the back tyre. At this point Dan revealed for the first and I think only time that he does actually have a practical side. A huge roll of gaffa tape appeared and the light was fixed. Think it will stay that way forever. It was a very slow but equally beautiful day. Lots more picture taking.
Nearing Cusco we went through a village, Dan had stopped to watch a football match that was in progress. The whole village was out and everyone was playing. It was very funny to see women in traditional dress playing football, their little bowler hats bobbing around.
Dan took his bike down and was engulfed in a crowd of people. An old lady came over to us and invited us down for a beer. Suddenly we were the guests of honour. A table and three chairs appeared, three cups of Chicha beer (local brew made from fermented corn), the football stopped and music started over the loud speakers.
R got his camera out. He asked rather tentatively if it was ok to take pictures. The response was unbelievable……..each time he took a picture he virtually disappeared; everyone was desperate to see themselves on the screen.
Dan and I were dragged up to dance by a crowd of little kids and ended up doing some sort of weird Hoky Coky. R was still taking pics and being followed by an ever increasing hoard of grubby kids, all pushing to get to the front of the picture. It turned out they were having a party to celebrate the villages first clean water supply.
We had to leave and get to Cusco before it got dark, but it was very difficult. It took us about half an hour to get away, plastered in grubby kisses. We rode off down the road a bit woozy from the beer but mostly from the welcome. We were totally overwhelmed.
Half an hour later we arrived in Cusco’s very grand plaza with its very bloody history. Here the Spanish destroyed the Inca culture and slaughtered our beautiful host’s ancestors in their thousands.
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