Motorcycling around the world - Machu Picchu & oasis Huacachina
To leave Bolivia only took two seconds. I just handed the paper I got from the customs man while entering the country at his colleague. Also, I got the exit stamp very fast, after I just entered the little house, where hundreds of backpackers were waiting in front.
To enter Peru turned out to become more complicated. The man who was doing a cross word puzzle quickly looked at my passport and saw the name wasn't the same as in the papers of my bike. He just said not possible and went on with his cross word puzzle.
Pardon? I thought I did not understand right. "No possible". The man nearly fell asleep. I bothered him once more, took a chair and had a seat. Then I tried to make him understand with hands, feet and my best Espaniol that "Returne" is also "not possible". My flight back would leave from Ecuador and my bike is "mi propertario".
In the mean time, other traveler became aware of the customs guy. I seemed to be invsible for him. When we were alone again, I pulled out a 5000 peso note and pushed it towards him: "Par to Muchere"...for your wife, but the man did not want the money.
Finally, his friend came. He understood the situation and told me, I had to get some Peru money. Ah now the thing started to move. While I went to get the bribe money and to make some copies of my documents, the friend started to fill out some forms.
I came back and slammed a hand full of money on the table. The friend quickly let the money disappeared in one of his draws. Then he went to the room of his boss who pressed his stamp on the right place, after he told him he got the money. I used the time while he was gone to take my money back out of his draw. Finished. Note: I have to create documents for the bike with my name
A few meters later, some police man who had watched me running around changing money and making copies of my documents wanted to see my selfmade insurance and my drivers licence. I said no: "Muchos control par duan" The people at the customs had already controlled everything. I greeted and went on.
When it went dark, a police man wanted to control me again. I pointed to the setting sun and told him I quickly want to take some photos of the Uros Indians on their floating islands before it would be dark. I did not have the time for a control. The police understood this and I went on.
In a nice hotel, I was allowed to use their Internet again and even got the right plug since the European plug did not fit in Peru for the first time.
While looking for a place to sleep, I knocked at the door of a house a little out of Puno. I was warmly welcomed and offered a beer. I was surprised how friendly the people in Peru were.
We started a conversation and it turned out the family owned a boat. That was cool. We agreed to meet in the morning to pedal out to the swimming islands of the Uros Indians.
On the next morning, a boy and probably his older sister Maria came including some smaller cousins to pic me up. At the same time it stopped raining. What else do I need?
The boy quickly repaired the rows with some wire. Then we started. The one who was rowing had to stand since there was no bank in the boat left.
When we came closer to the island, I took the head of the boy to hide my blond hair. Then we passed the checkpoint without having a ticked to enter. It was very interesting to see how the indians lived but one could also see everything was specially made for the hundreds of tourists who came by motorboat.
After we came back, I went into the town to change some money, to eat something on the road and to check the internet again. Because it was really late when I came back, I was allowed to spend another night at the family's room. I said thanks with some money. What a day.
On the next morning, I started very early towards Cuzco. I was happy it did not rain but it was freezingly cold. I went with only 60 km/h past frozen lakes up to 4300 meters altitude. Only 100km before Cuzco it finally went down to 3200 meters again and became a little warmer and the top speed of my bike raised to amazing 80 km/h again.
I did not reach the place Santa Teresa which I wanted to reach. Santa Teresa is 200km away from Cuzco. When it started to rain again I was allowed to pitch my tent under the roof of a company beside the road.
The next morning I visited Moyale GPS 13°19'48.24"S 72°11'40.32"W and the salinas at GPS 13°18'14.94"S 72° 9'14.22"W, Then it started to rain again and I had to climb up another 4300 Meter on the way to Santa Teresa. I was completely alone. No vehicle was overtaking me.
On the other side of the mountain there was tropical vegetation. It did not stop to rain but was less cold. The jacked I got from Hein Gericke was still dry. Many times rivers crossed the road. If my shoes would not be wet since days, they would have been wet by now.
When I came around a corner on a part of gravel road, suddenly there were lots of trucks and busses blocking the way. Many people were walking on the road, selling stuff and nobody except me seemed to want to go on. I worked my way to the front of the line and finally saw the reason for the traffic jam: Because of the strong rain the river had taken away the bridge. Some truck drivers told me they have been waiting there since 3 days.
Now some people were busy building a new bridge by putting pipes into the river and earth on top. While I had to wait I got in contact with some people from Germany who specially took the bus for 62 hours from Ecuador to see Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu must be even better then I thought.
After 6 hours the new bridge was finished and "solos personas" were allowed to cross it. Of course this included my bike and I went on. Only 50 km more till Santa Teresa. But very hard kilometers. Specially the last 30. Compared to them the "Kamina de la Muerte" had been a child playground.
A single line mud road with lots of big rocks went up a mountain. On the left side it went hundreds of kilometers down without a plank. Again and again cars came towards me and squeezed past. I had decided not to ride at night. Specially not a road like this, but there was no place to stop and pitch a tent. I did not want to be run over by someone driving without lights so I had to go on.
Big rivers crossed the road many times. A bus with tourists came very close behind me when my front wheel nearly disappeared in the water. Hissing my exhaust pipe followed. I hit the gas praying the engine doesn't take water. If the engine would try to compress water... that would have a sad ending. Finally I saw my front wheel again and my bike reached the other side of the river. I was wet up to my knees. That was close.
I could hardly see anything despite the light of my bike, but suddenly there were red lights flashing. A car got stuck on a very muddy part of the road. Many were already busy trying to get it out of the way. There I had to go through as well. I hit the gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas and managed. Lucky me! One hindered meters later I saw a shining cross. In the light of the cross I saw a plane place with grass. Perfect to pitch a tent.
I spend a quiet night protected by the cross of Santa Teresa. In the morning I went the last 15 km to the train station of the diesel powered Hydra Electrica. This part of the road was not less spectacular. There was a river which was very big because of all the rain in the last days. I could hardly hear my own engine.
At the train station, where foreigners have to pay a lot more for the tickets than people from Peru, I parked my bike and all my stuff at the house of the first checkpoint. Then the sun came out and I started to hike with wet shoes 2 hours or 7 kilometers along the train track to Aguar Caliente (Hostel Dorm + WiFi up from 15 Soles p.P.).
I had to change my original plan to hike on the path to Machu Picchu. The landscape was just too steep and there were to many plants growing but mainly because the first control of the personalized, computer readable tickets already happened strategicalyl well on the bridge across the river.
Plan B was to get the 126 Soles ticked for half the price using my study card. Usually one has to get a international study card in Cuzco for US$10 but with a bit of playing I even got my ticket without this.
From Agua Caliente I had to return 1km to cross the river. Then I hiked for one hour hundreds of steps up from 2000 meters to Machu Picchu at 2500 meters. On half of the way there is a waterfall, where I could cool down and refill my water bottles. Persons who are not so fit can also use a bus. The prices change depending of the time between US$5 and US$15.
On the top, many old people were waiting at the entrance. Inside of Machu Picchu it was as full as well. One was only allowed to walk into one direction and as soon as I tried to go somewhere else the watching people whistled at me. The way I came here was much more spectacular then the rouine itself.
Towards evening dark clouds appeared and it started to rain again. I walked back towards my bike, which I reached totally wet and with big blisters on my feet. I must have looked very sad. The guy at the checkpoint even offered me to sleep in his metal house. I was happy about that. There I also took the bottle...to disinfect my feet with alcohol :P
Luckily the Touratech Tank bag, which I have used to carry my camera, had stayed dry.
On the next morning the sun was shining again, when I started to ride back to Cuzco, On the way I met other motorbikes and stopped to eat. That's how I like travelling. Only in the evening black clouds appeared again and I got the permission to sleep in an empty mud house. Just after having moved in it started to thunder and rain a lot. I went into my sleeping bag, made my self comfortable and let the exiting experiences of the last few days go by while typing...
I continued past one of the nicest motorbike roads if you are listening to the HUBB. The road took me down to "only" 2000 Meters to follow a river for about 100 km. The sun was shining and my bike was going fast again. I really enjoyed it. Great.
For lunch, I had nice noodles, potatoes and rice beside the road. In the evening, the road started to go up a mountain again. Hoping to be able to go over this pass before it went dark, I followed it up to 4600 Meters. There, suddenly some very black clouds and lots of fog stopped me.
The road disappeared in the black wall. A very cold wind was blowing. A few meters away from me I saw a fabric house beside the road. I let myself in, took the tools, who were laying on the floor beside and placed some wood planks as isolation on the cold concrete floor. When I pitched my tent it started to thunder and I heard big hail corns crash on the roof.
If you are on 4600 Meters in a snow storm, it is no fun anymore. There you have to fight to survive. I was very worried the pass might be closed because of snow the next morning while the warm and dry coast was only 250 km away...
After a cold night, everything was white but thanks to many trucks and buses the road was more or less free. I had to be strong, went into my wet shoes and went up another 4600 Meters pass. Long story short: I stayed at very high altitude for a long time. Only 80 km before Nasca the road started to wind it self down to nearly sea level.
You won't believe it, but in Nasca, it was raining as well. This very rare happening of course has to happen while I'm there. The air was warm and very thick. After a long time on more then 4000 meters altitude this was a big change. Also for my bike.
I turned the screw on my carburetor 2 windings out again, put more air into my tires, bought petrol and food and followed the panamericana past a nice grave yard 25 km north to the view points of the lines of Nasca. I did not see many lines but there I found a nice place to pitch my tent. That's not very easy along the big panamericana road.
140 km later, I reached the wonderful Oasis Huacachina close to Ica, where I felt very well. There were many Hotels (Dorm + Internet from 15 Soles (5.- Euro) Single Room + Pool 70 Soles p.P.), one could swim in the Oasis or rent sand boards to surf down the dunes. Really nice.
I went up the dunes to take fotos, got in contact with nice people and was allowed to pitch my tent for free in a small car workshop, which even had running drinking water and Wifi connection :)
I got really nice food in one of the many restaurants in Huacachina. There I heard from other travellers the road to Machu Picchu was closed and no busses were going right now. I was happy I made it through just before.
Because the Oasis Huacachina was one of the nicest places on my trip, I decided to stay a few days. I met Maria from Munich who tried to sell sand buggy tours and owned a small restaurant. We spend a nice evening talking. So nice not to be alone anymore.
Talking about money: Because a lot of people asked me here a few numbers: Until now I have travelled 10.000 Kilometers an spend exactly 2000 Euro. If one takes 600 Euro off for the flight and 800 Euro for my motorcycle The three months on the road had only cost 600 Euro.
It was really useful to have a ratable map of Southamerica on my Garmin Nüvi 255W, which always brought me home safely. My home is always where my computer is ;)
In Peru, most of the cars are run by gas instead of petrol because its cheaper. One Gallon 84 octane petrol was 13 Soles. The roads were pretty good but they have a lot of extremely dangerous speed bumps like in Bolivia as well.
You usually come up with about 100 km/h, then you have to stop almost completely to carefully go over those speed bumps before you have to accelerate again.
There are no Speed cameras in Peru. "They would all get stolen." I think this original sentence of someone from Peru describes the country very good.
While I got ready to continue my trip, I got in contact with other people and was invited to join them on the beach. The water was very cold and there were high waves too.
A paradise for surfers - but because of so many people also a paradise for thieves. I was told to wear my backpack in front and to always lock doors when I leave. All this somehow reminds me of Southafrica...
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