Peru

Sms sent 26 March 2009 In Haullanca, roads are amazing!..Heading out of town to look for a camp site
Sms sent 28 March 2009 We are in Haullanca which is in the mountains between Hairaz and Haunuco.
Email sent 28 March 2009................................La Pampa Peru
Just to let you know we are still alive and well, and How! We are just loving Peru so far! Had the best ride of our lives yesterday!

Na ons die grens oorgesteek het het ons deur dorre woestyn area gery en so 80km suid van Pura van die pad afgetrek en in die woestyn gekamp en geslaap. Die volgende dag het ons weer heeldag deur woestyn gery wat ons laat herinner het aan die Midde Ooste. By Santa, net Noord van Chimbote het ons afgedraai na die berge, en weer langs die pad geslaap in woestyn kloof waar geen mense is nie. Gestir het ons deur die kronkellende bergpaai gery tot by Yupon´,  dorpie wat nie eers op die kaart wys nie. Ons kon net 150km in die hele dag doen. Die pad is gebou teen die steilste hellings denkbaar, en het geklim vanaf seevlak tot 3500m. Dit het ook plek plek gereen en pad was vol modder. Die laaste 100km was gedoen in 1ste en 2de rat, maar die uitsigte asemrowend. Ons gaan nou in die berge bly tot by Cusco, meer as ´n week se ry skat ek. Ons het net gou by ´n internet kafee gestop by La Pampa (Nie op die kaart)om julle te laat weet om nie te worrie nie. Die GS loop lekker en ons is in die 7de hemel nier. Die mense is geweldig vriendelik en die bergpaaie verskriklik nice, dit laat die Sani pass en Gamkaskloof na kinderspelletjies lyk! Ons sal fotos volgende keer stuur waneer ons met ons eie rekenaar werk.
Frosty the Snowman 

Sms sent 28 March 2009
We are in Haullanca which is in the mountains, between Hauraz and Haunuco
     

Email sent 29 March 2009..............Haullanca Peru
We are in another town called Huallanca, this one is in the mountains between Huaraz and Huanuco.  We have found the smaller towns more restored, cleaner, quieter and the locals friendlier than the big cities.  We have had the most amazing few days, God has taken us on uncharted roads with the most specatular breathtaking scenery. Keep a look out for the new YouTube movies......
Sms sent 31 March 2009..........We slept in Huanuco hope to get passed Huancayo today. Took us 10 hours to do 150km's. We are getting the hang of this mud thing. GS is 3 shades of mud!
Sms sent 3 April 2009.........Still riding in the mountains, we hope to reach Cusco today  Thankfully not raining but still chilly at 4000 plus meters, now back down to 2840m in the town Talavera. Johan is in the internet cafe.Iam sitting in the sun like a dassie.!

Epos gestuur 6 April 2009.................................Noord Peru

Ons is tans in Santa Teresa, 'n dorpie naby aan die bekende Machu Pichu. Peru hou net nie op om ons te betower met sy pragtige berge en vriendelike mense nie. Onder is 'n storie wat ek gestuur het aan BMW Suid Afrika wat een of ander tyd op hul webtuiste sal verskyn. Gedink van julle sal dit geniet. Dit behels die eerste paar dae in Peru, maar die res van die pad was soortgelyk, elke dag is net 'n wonderlikke ervaring hier.

Ek ry nou al BMW's vir die laaste 10 jaar van my lewe en het die ander dag 'the ride of my life gehad' wat ek graag met my mede BMW ryers wil deel. Tans ry ek met 'n BMW 1150GS Adventure, amper 160,000km op die klok en sy ry nog net so lekker soos die dag toe ek haar van die vertoonvenster afgery het. Ons is al deur allerande tereine tesame, teerpad, grondpad, 4x4 trails, sand, modder en nou kan ek ook sneeu by my lysie voeg. Die rit waarvan ek julle wil vertel is in die Andes Gebergtes van Peru, volgens my die beste GS paaie wat ek al teegekom het. Ek en my vrou is tans op toer om die wereld met ons getroue GS. Na 3 weke in Colombia en een week in Ecuador, het die ryery begin vervelig raak. Elke aand slaap ons in 'n raserigge hostal in 'n dorp wat nie baie interesant is nie. Ons was al uitgehonger vir bietjie kamp en avontuur, toe kom Peru. . . . .

Die eerste aand in Peru trek ons uit sig van mense van die pad af en slaan die tent op vir die eerste keer in maande (Sedert Honduras). Die kuslyn van Peru is woestyn, soortgelyk aan die wat jy by Swakopmund en Hentiesbaai kry. Die volgende dag ry ons verder suid, en draai af met 'n pad wat 'n groot rivier na die binneland en die berge volg. Weer sien ons min mense en trek van die pad af en kamp in die woestyn gebied. Die twee aande in die natuur het ons vonk in die toer weer terugesit. Vroeg die volgende oggend is ons gepak en vat die pad dieper die berge in. By Chuquicara is 'n polisie aanmeldingspunt waar ons besonderhede in 'n boek opgeskryf word. Net na die polisie-punt draai 'n teerpad links af oor die rivier met 'n brug. Reguit aan verander die pad in 'n grondpad. Ek dag toe die teerpad is seker maar die hoofpad en draai links af. Daar is 'n tekort aan rigting aanwysers in Peru, so baie keer raai raai jy maar jou weg deur die land. Die GPS help darem ook baie, maar die roete wat ons nou op was is nie op die GPS se wereld-kaart nie. Langs die pad is pragtige kaktusse van alerande kleure, groen, geel en selfs rooi, party met blomme op. Ons ry maar soos gewoonlik stadig en bewonder die natuur. Die kloof waardeur ons ry raak al hoe nouer en meer indrukwekkend. Na ons deur die nouste deel van die kloof en 'n paar tonnels is begin kronkel die pad die berg uit tot by 'n dorpie met die naam van Ancos. Ancos le so op 2000m hoog, en is aansienlik groener as die kloof waaruit ons gery het. Toe ek die dorpie (Ancos) se naam sien (eerste naambord vir die dag) besef ek ons is op verkeerde pad.

Ons stop op die dorpie se plein en bestudeer die padkaart, wat maar bra vaag is en ook geen pad verbind tussen Ancos en Huallanca, die dorp waarheen ons wil gaan, nie. Ek is 'n ou wat nie hou van backtrack nie, veral nie as dit 2 uur terug is na die verkeerde afdaai nie. Die dorpie waar ons onself nou bevind is klein, en daar gebeur bitter min op 'n dinsdag oggend. Op die plein is 'n Katolieke kerkgebou, 'n winkeltjie en so paar modderkleurige geboutjies wat lyk soos huise. Behalwe die paar 'pavement special' brakke wat daar rondhang, is die ander asems in sig 'n oom en 'n antie by die winkeltjie se stoep. Die winkeltjie is van die outydse soort waar jy jou goedjies deur die tralie venster koop. Ek stap nader en groethulle:"Benious Dias" en beduie dat ek graag in die winkel wil inkom, want om vir hulle te probeer verduidelik wat ek soek in my paar Spaanse woorde kan dalk die res van die oggend neem. Hulle wys dis reg, en ek gaan haal my Inca Cola, pakkie chips en 2 pakkies koekies. Hulle wil weet waar is ek vandaan. "Sud Afrika seniora" se ek, en sy antwoord asof sy verstaan en presies weet waar Suid Afrika is. Meeste mense wat ons teekom hier in Suid Amerika weet van ons land, en verbind Suid Afrika dadelik met die sokker wereld beker wat volgende jaar daar plaasvind. Dis duidelik dat die wereldbeker toernooi goeie publisiteit vir ons land is.
 
Die volgende vraag is waarheen is jy op pad, en ek se ek soek die pad na Huallanca. Hulle albei wys my in die rigting waarvan ons gekom het. Ek verduidelik toe maar ek soek 'n kortpad, en wil nie terug draai nie. Hulle se toe daar is wel 'n pad oor die berg, maar wys so op en af met hul hande, wat ek verstaan het beteken dis 'n rowwe pad. Ek se dis reg, hoe lank sal dit neem om in Huallanca te kom, 2 ure? Hulle lag en se net "Mas, mas", wat beteken meer, meer. Ok reken ek, ons sal die pad vat, enigeiets om nie terug te draai nie. So km of twee buite die dorp kom ons by die afdraai, wat na 'n lekker smal en modderigge grondpad lyk. Die pad klim steil teen die berg uit al kronkelend verby allerande plaas landerytjies en huise. Op een kol gaan ons by 'n hoop enorme pampoene verby wat tussen 300 en 500mm in deursnit is. Die oeste lyk goed, en die mense is baie vriendelik en waai vir ons soos ons verby ry. Later is ons oor die 3000m en in die wolke in, en die pad klim steeds. Die wereld is geweldig pragtig en die pad loop soos Bainskloof teen steil hellings en kranse. Op 3400m begin die pad afplat en ons bevind onself in 'n heel ander wereld as vroer die oggend. Die pad is smal en draaierig, en ons ry hoogstens in 2de rat. Die GS raak kort kort warm, en ons moet stop sodat hy kan afkoel. Ek glo die warm raak is die feit dat ek die bike volgemaak het met 95 oktaan brandstof teen die kus, wat te warm brand op 3000m. Op 'n paar plekke is die pad skaars een voertuig breed, met amper vertikale afgronde 100de meters diep. Ek konsentreer maar net op die pad, en nie op die afgronde nie. Ons kom by die oulike berg dorpie van Llapo aan, waar ons weer op die plein stilhou vir 'n ruskansie. 'n Toppie stap nader en begin gesels met ons. Hy gee ons nie 'n kans om baie te se nie. Mense hier in die berge is geweldig vriendelik en laat ons baie welkom voel. Die pad loop dood net duskant Llapo as gevolg van 'n mudslide wat die hele pad toele. Dit kos ons toe omdraai, 'n gedagte waarvan ek glad nie hou nie. So 4km terug sien ons 'n tweespoorpad wat afdraai in die rigting waarheen ons mik. Ons is reeds half verdwaal, en besluit om die afdraai te vat en te kyk waarheen dit gaan. Sommer in die begin van die paadjie word ons turf beproef met diep modder, wat ons so sleepvoet aanpak. Dis nie nou die tyd om Tarzan te wees en op die regte manier, staande deur te ry nie, want die afgrond is hoog en daar is geen area vir 'n fout nie. Die res van die dag ry ons op die tweespoorpad deur die mees asemrowende uitsigte wat ek al gesien het. Die aand kom ons by Yupon, 'n dorpie so halfpad na Huallanca. Daar, soos mens maar maak in die deel van die wereld, vra ons mense of daar 'n slaapplek op die dorp is. Hulle verwys ons toe na die enigste hostal op die dorp, waar ons die nag inboek. Terwyl ons wag dat hulle die kamer gereed maak vir ons, sit en kyk ek die mense, skape en varke wat verby stap. Die lewe hier in die berge lyk so rustig en eenvoudig. Dis die tiepe lewe wat mense soos ons eintlik na smag, rustig en eenvoudig, maar nie regtig kans sien voor nie.
 
Die volgende dag ry ons die res van die kronkellende tweespoor pad na Huallanca. Dis laat middag en ons het slegs 100km afgele, so koop net twee bottels water en koekies en stoot aan. Na Huallanca kom een van Peru se bekende paaie deur die Canon Del Pato (Eend afgronde). Die pad is steeds grondpad, en steeds een voertuig breedte. Dis waar 'n motorfiets geweldig handig is, want dis maklik om pad te gee waneer daar 'n vragmotor of bus van voor af kom. Ons het vele kere gesien hoe 'n vragmotor of bus moet terug ry in tru-rat tot hy by 'n opening langs die pad kom om pad te gee vir die aankomende vragmotor. Die pad deur die Canon Del Pato loop op 'n ou treinspoor lyn (spoorlyn is verwyder) en die canyon is geweldig nou op party plekke, dit laat Meiringspoort breed laat lyk. Die pad is teen amper vertikale kranse uitgekap, en het 35 tonnels. Dit was 'n fantastiese ondervinding om hier deur te ry. Na ons deur die nouste deel van die canyon is, sien ons 'n verlate pad wat afdraai, waar ons afdraai en ons tent vir die nag opslaan. Die aand slaap ons lekker met die gedruis van die rivier as agtergrond asook reendruppels op die tent.
 Peru on top of the World
Die volgende oggend is ons eers laat daar weg, aangesien ons moes wag vir die sonnetjie om die nat tent droog te maak. Ons is nou op 'n teerpad (vol slagate), en maak goed tyd op. Ons ry deur so een of twee groot dorpe, wat ons glad nie aanstaan nie, so ons hou maar verby. Teen 14:00 kry ons ons volgende afdraaipad, weereens 'n grondpad. Die sonnetjie skyn te lekker en ons stop vir so rukkie dat Charmaine ons onderklere kan was in 'n stroompie berg water. Die sonnetjie het so lekker geskyn dat ek selfs my hemp uitrek om te tan. Skaars was die wasgoed klaar, en dit trek meteens toe en begin saggies reen. Met ons reenpakke aan, vat ons die pad teen die berg uit na die Puya Raimondi Nationale park. Die park huisves 'n baie skaars soort plant, die Puya Raimondi, 'n reuse alwyn-agtige plant wat slegs bo 4000m bo seespieel groei (in die wild) en meer as 100 jaar neem om te blom. Na ons die besonderse plante bekyk het klim die pad steeds op en op teen die berg. Die reen druppels verander later in ligte sneeu vlokkies. Ons stop en is heel opgewonde dat ons in die sneeu is, Suid Afrikaners is mos nie sneeu gewoond nie! Na so paar fotos ry ons verder, en verwag dat die pad nou een of ander tyd moet sak, want ons is al by die 4800m hoog. Die wolke/mis le laag en maak dat ons nie baie ver kan sien nie, maar ons kom agter dat dit al witter en kouer word. Plek plek waneer die wolke bietjie oopmaak sien ons hoe pragtig, en wit die terein is. Na meer as 'n uur se ry in die sneeu (1ste en 2de rat) begin verander ons opgewondenheid in kommer, want die son is ook nog aan die sak en daar is geen teken dat die sneeu, wat nou hard val, gaan ophou nie. Ek sien in my geestesoog al ons slaan tent op hier in die koue, nat sneeu, want ek sukkel om nou die pad te sien, want alles is nou wit Verbasend loop die GS goed oor die sneeu, wat so 3 duim dik is. Water plassies in die slagate is nou gevries, en die GS se wiel breek die dun laag ys soos ons daaroor ry. Dank die Vader dis nog nie kliphard gevries nie, want dit sou seker 'n ander ondervinding gewees het. Op net onder die 4900m hoog begin die pad afsak. Die son het nou al gesak en ek ry baie stadig al bidende aan. Ewe skielik en onverwags kom ons by 'n T aansluiting, en 'n groot teerpad aan. Die roete aanwysers is toe gesneeu (en te hoog) en ons kan nie sien watter rigting om te vat nie. Ons vat toe maar die rigting wat afdraand loop, want ek reken dat hoe laer ons sak, sal dit sekerlik ophou sneeu. Die toegesneeude teerpad was meer glibberig om te ry as die grondpad waarvan ons afgeklim het, maar ons poer poer maar so stadig aan tot die sneeu eindelik verander in harde reen. Laat die aand en sopnat kom ons by Huallanca ('n ander dorp met dieselfde naam as die vorige Huallanca!)aan, en kry gelukkig 'n warm hotel kamer, waar ons 3 nagte spandeer om al ons klere skoon en droog te kry, en ook so bietjie te rus....................... Vir diegene wat hierdie storie geniet het, ek het 3 videos op youtube geplaas wat hierdie avontuur in beeld dek. gaan na youtube.com en search ons username, jc4ever2 en kyk die Peru 1,2 en 3 videos van so 7 min elk Aangeheg is ook 'n paar fotos.
 
Geniet die lewe en laat die wielle rol, want die lewe is kort en die paaie baie.

Email sent 6 April 2009..........................Santa Teresa
We are currently in Santa Teresa, a little town near Machu Pichu. We will go to Aguas Callientes this afternoon by train, and visit Machu Pichu tomorrow morning! This is one of those long awaited places we've always wanted to visit, and now we are here. . . . .

Email sent 9 April 2009 .....Machu Picchu Peru

We headed out from Abancay toward Cusco, the main hub for tourists doing the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.  The road was a fantastic tar road with sweeping turns and we went well over 4000 metres again and the temperature dropped below 10 ‘C.  Then it was down the other side to below 1500 metres where the temperature was 31 ‘C. The plan was to find the road to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, then go to Cusco on the way south again.  Before Cusco we took the turnoff at Iscuchaca and headed north through farm lands and little villages around beautiful lakes to Urubamba. The scenery was spectacular with rolling green hills, stone walled houses with straw roofs next to the lakes, and the clear blue sky with stark white clouds and the snow capped peaks of the tall dark mountains as a back drop. Wow, what a blessing to be riding the GS on the road which runs through the valley of the Inca Trail.  The town of Ollantaytambo had really bumpy cobble stone streets with a stone carved water channel running between the street and the houses.  The present day town is based on the old Inca town and the almost intact Inca canchas (blocks) can be seen in the still occupied buildings behind the main plaza.  The road out of the plaza leads across a bridge, down to the colonial church and to the entrance of the
archaeological site is lined with shops and stalls selling brightly coloured Inca curios and woven materials.  We could see the ruins up on the slope of the mountain above the town.

Peru Inca ValeyHeading out of town we followed the tar road which leads away from the Inca Trail, we asked locals for the road to Aquas Calientes and Machu Picchu and they all pointed us in the direction we were heading!!  The fantastic tar road twisted and turn up the mountain with so many sharp U-bends that it would have frustrated the living day lights out of any sport bike rider!  There was only two sections that were straight enough where the GS could get up to fourth gear, the rest was first and second gear stuff.  Even though the road was in perfect condition we had to be careful for the ever present rock, stones and mud in the road from the land slides.  Before we knew it we were back up in the clouds at 4300m and the temperature was back town to 5’C.  Down on the other side of the mountain the tar road became a semi-good condition gravel road that still wound up and down at incredible angles.  This ride to our destination was taking us much longer than we anticipated and we doubted that we were on the right road; but every time we asked locals for directions they assured us that we were heading the right way....  Slowly the light faded and the evening caught up with us which made the journey even slower but we were sure that we were close enough to push on to Aguas Calientas where we planned to rest for a few days. 

We eventually got to Santa Maria where we had to turn off to Santa Teresa.  A local on a 200cc Chinese scrambler was heading in the same direction and offered to show us the route.  This was great as it was dark and from what we understood from the many helpful locals the road ahead had many turnoffs and it would be easy to get lost.  The GPS was only helping by showing us that we were heading in the right direction as these small roads were not part of its world map data base, even the towns were not plotted accurately.  It was hard to believe that this was the main ‘alternative’ route to Aguas Calientes for tourist thPeruat could not afford the huge US$ price for the train from Cusco, the road looked more like a dirt track in some section as it snaked up and down the mountains.  It was quite eerie on the narrow road with the step drop-offs and U-bends at night but on and on we went following the light of the local rider.  At some point he disappeared – he might have stopped in one of the little villages we drove through as there were many people walking and driving around.  We crossed many fast flowing steams, most were nicely paved with cement but a few were nothing but rocks and pebbles.  The one crossing was so wide and deep that the water washed over the engine and we almost stalled, the GS spluttered but praise the Lord we managed to keep going.  We were really relieved when we reached the town of Santa Teresa as according to the map it was not much further to go.  Once again we asked for directions and were told to follow the ‘Electrica’... this meant follow the road that goes to the Hydro-electrical station!  This piece of road was in an even worse condition than what we had been on and what made it feel even worse was that we could hear the river roaring in the dark down below us.  At about 10pm we got to the Hydro-electrical station and the end of the road!!  We were both totally gob-smacked, very disappointed to say the least and at the same time really exhausted.  The very friendly security guards explained that there was no road to Aguas Calientas from that point, only a rail way line. It was too late to try and do anything, so we asked where we could pitch the tent and settled down for the night.  To crown it all it started to rain... The next morning we woke to the sounds of the pitter-patter of the rain drops on the tent and the birds singing.  It was actually a wonderful sound to wake up to, then at 7am we heard the toot-toot of the train arriving at the station.  Praise the Lord, the sun came out and dried the tent so we could head back to Santa Teresa, as we had decided find a secure parking place where we could leave the GS for a night and we would catch the train to Aquas Calientas - Machu Picchu. Peru Machu Picchu

In the day light the road back to town was not half as bad as it had been the night before.  What a blessing the Lord had waiting for us, not only did we find a wonderful place to stay – Hostal Yacumana - but safely parked inside the hostels’ restaurant were two Honda Africa-Twins waiting for the owners (a Singaporean couple and a Swiss couple) to return from Machu Picchu!!  We took a local taxi back to the train station and realised that we were truly blessed to have two-wheels to do our journey on the rough roads as the 30 minute horn-honking taxi ride was nauseatingly bouncy!   The last coach of the three coach train was for tourist and it was over filled so that some had to stand for the 45 minute train ride to Aguas Calientas.   The town is built on the one slope of a steep ravine and the rail way line runs through the middle of it.  The narrow alleys of the town are jam packed with hostels, hotels, restaurants and very brightly coloured woven goods, trinkets and souvenir shops.  Some of the alleys had beautiful Christian pictures temporarily laid out on the pathways, made from flower petals, leaves and bits of bark in preparation for the Easter celebrations. 
 Peru inca ruins

The next morning we caught an early bus for the 30 minute ride up to the ruins of Machu Picchu.  Wow, there really is a tremendous feeling of awe when you first enter the site, seeing the steep terraced slopes falling away to the fast-flowing Urubamba River far below in the valley floor.  The green jungle peaks towering through the mist and clouds as the early morning sun breaks through to reveal the majestic scene of a complete Inca City.  Machu Picchu is by far the most spectacular of all the ruin sites we have visited.  The ruins – staircases, houses, temples, palaces, towers, fountains and even the terraces are the most professionally built and still intact today.  The structures only lack the wooden and mud decks between the two floors in the double story buildings and the wooden frames and grass roofs which have decayed over the years.  The masonry work done by the Inca is unbelievable, much more advanced and professional than the Maya.  The perfect shape of the huge Inca canchas (blocks) chiselled to fit snugly onto each other and on selected large natural rocks for firm foundations, other natural rocks chiselled into staircases or channels for water.  Archaeologists have restructured some of the decks and roofs of a few houses, and we can see that Machu Picchu could actually be a liveable city today

Email sent 9 April 2009................................Machu Picchu Peru
 Photo of us and our new friend from Machu Picchu.
Johan Llama & Charmaine Machu Picchu Peru
We are on the way to Cusco and then Cruz del Condor (5 days ride) in hopes to see the worlds largest bird in flight, the Andean Condor, also one of my personal childhood dreams.

Sms sent 14 April 2009..........We saw magnificient Andean Condor high in cold wet Colca Canyon. Now in spectacular scenery and dry dusty town of Tacna. We are heading for Chilean border.
Sms sent 15 April 2009....Snuggled up in the tent waiting for the sun to rise in the north Atacama Desert, Chile. Scenery spectacularly dry not a living thing in sight for miles.
Sms sent 16 April 2009....In Antofagasta checking emails then we will continue south. Packed up camp late as everything was wet from the mist
Sms sent 19 April 2009...We have arrived in Santiago, very modern and bling - bling.

Email sent 20 April 2009...............Machu Picchu Chile

Machu Picchu is an awesome site, and definitely worth all the money and effort to get to. After our visit to the site we went back to Santa Teresa with the tourist train, and spent the evening with another two bikers that arrived at the hostel where we stayed. Irmat and Roy are from Israel, and were on two rented Honda 250's. We had a great evening with them and had our first taste of Alpaca meat. The road from Santa Teresa was slow, and we took our time enjoying the jungle type scenery, as we rode that road in the dark on our way in to Santa Teresa. From the low lying (note, low = 1500m) jungle the road climbed steeply over a mountain range. It was cloudy in the mountain and I decided not to stop and put rain gear on, a decision I regret later on, as the little drizzle turned into a cold icy rain as we rode over the 4500m summit. It was too late to put on rain gear, as we were already wet and bitterly cold. Luckily the road dropped down back to 2000m, where the sun was shining nicely. We call it a day in Ollantaytambo, and had a great evening at a wonderful guest house called Home Sweet Home B & B 
 
The road from Ollanttaytambo took us through Cusco, and further south to near Lake Taticana. The scenery in the southern Peruvian mountains are very different from the north. The elevation is a bit higher with scenery similar to the Arctic Tundra in some places. Needles to say, it was a cold ride. We went through the famous Colca Canyon, supposedly one of the deepest Canyons in the world. We did not come here to admire the canyon (which was not really that spectacular), but the Andean Condor, the largest flying bird. Long time ago when I was still in primary school I did a project (task) on the Condor. Ever since I wanted to see one of these majestic birds. God granted me that dream when we were there at the Canyon. We saw three groups of them gliding over us as we were riding. The Condor's 3 meter wingspan make them relatively easy to spot and identify. At one stage we came over a rocky outcrop and the road dropped 250m in altitude, and we still could see the Condors clearly circling around the hill about 250m or more away!
 
From the high canyon rim and mountains (4000m) the road and terrain dropped down to the coastal desert. The scenery changed dramatically from green grass plains to absolutely no vegetation. It was a nice change in scenery for us as the views and roads opened up. We came on the main Pan American Highway, which is in very good condition and we could cruise at 100km/h for the first time in weeks. The GS did not like the low octane (84) fuel at low altitude, and I was relieved to get some 93 and fill the tank up. That evening we pulled off the road out of sight and camped on some beautiful silver coloured sand dunes. The camping on the dunes reminded us so much of our days in Dubai and the many times we went camping with our special friends in the desert. This was the first time we longed back to Dubai and the friends we left behind and it made us realized once again that it sure was a special time in our lives too, despite of all the difficulties that came with it.Peru Desert
 
The next evening we stayed at a hostel in Tacna, were we met a Japanese guy who was very proud to show us his United States ID and residence card, despite the fact that he could not speak English. You get to meet all sorts of interesting people on a journey like this, that is for sure. Tacna was a very neat and tidy town, or at least on Peruvian standards. Peru was definitely one of our best experiences we've had in any country. It had everything that an adventure seeker wants. This is one of the countries we would like to return to to explore more.

Sms sent 22 April 2009 We got the parts for the GS, will head for Valparaiso tomorrow.

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