6th November 2015

6 - 11 November : Peru Part 1 - a completely different world , what remains are the great encounters…

On Friday I take it easy as I will just drive 185km until Piura after the border crossing. I fill up the tank just shortly before the border as fuel is far more expensive in Peru than in Ecuador.
The border crossing then again totally without any problem: fill in a formula, stamp in the passport and I’m allowed to drive over the "puente international" to Peru. There almost the same procedure:  stamp in the passport, fill in the obligatory form, buy motorcycle insurance and get the copies of my documents; then back to the official ... .only that there is meanwhile a Canadian biker who has lost all his documents - and so the waiting starts. First the officials discusses quite a while with him, then they go together to the Ecuadorian Customs, to look if they still have copies of the papers available ... 1 hour later they come back. Nice enough that the official now takes the waiting persons first now. I "have to" help him fill out the form on the PC, as he has no idea where all my information on the license fit into his form. The fact that the countries are written in English instead of Spanish does it not get any easier for him ... ..and "Switzerland" is showing up  even after "Swaziland" ... Finally after two hours everything is ok and he sticks the temporary import permit right into the middle of my windscreen.
Both the landscape as well as the villages are changing abruptly. The closer we get to the sea, the drier, desert-like it is. And the incredibly poor villages; most houses are simple brick buildings, a room door, 1-2 window openings (if any), in the best case, the front is plastered and painted, most villages are built in this style.
Piura is not a huge city but I’m still glad that Rodrigo sent his colleague to pick me up a bit outside at a gas station. To drive around and look for a street or a place in a Peruvian, medium-sized city in the afternoon traffic - simply impossible ... .. Peruvians drive actually - as predicted - much worse than any other so far. It’s not only being overtaken from all sides, the continuously honking, some use my side of the street just because it is easier or closer to where they want to go. And how the roundabout works I still haven’t found out!
But I manage to stay just behind Ray and so we get sound and safe to my next “home” for 2 nights. I find shelter with Eswin who has a small motorcycle repair shop. Ideal for me as well as oil and tires change (probably the last one) has to be done.
The front tire brand “Duro" shows after only 4000km huge “stairs” and the rear tire brand “Pirelli "has still little profile after 10'000km but shows cracks after every block. With such tires I really do not like to drive the remaining 3 countries (with apr. 6000km). My first nights in Peru I can sleep in Julli’s room, the sister of Eswin; she sleeps meanwhile in her parents room. In the evening Rodrigo picks me up and we meet his other club members, who of course want to know everything about my trip – and my bike ;-) As I am their guest, Rodrigo orders for me - after having made sure that I'm not a vegetarian - a local specialty for dinner. The meat tastes something special but is delicately spiced and looks somehow like beef. I'm very glad that I ask Rodrigo only after eating what it was: beef, but the heart ... .well, it will not be the last time that I eat things of which I normally would get nightmares. On this point, I definitely have adapted myself to the situation; not because I would otherwise starve but mostly because I do not want to offend my hosts. And that's how it should be - and honestly ... most of the time it even tastes quite good!
The next day we go to the local tire dealers to look for my tires - although I have given Rodrigo the measures of my tires a week earlier and he had replied: "No problem, we have them here"…..  Unfortunately, my rear tire has a size which is not common here (I've listed that for my next trip: will need other size of tires!). The front tire we found quite easily but the rear tire: no chance; Rodrigo calls his colleague Marvin in Chiclayo who also has a motorbike repair shop. Marvin reports an hour later: "no problem, we have one here". I'm curious because: I have learned by now that the South Americans will get you the stars from the sky; maybe just not immediately but an hour later - or two - or tomorrow ;-)
ESWIN's mechanic helps me to change oil and tire, to tension and oil the chain.... well, I can help him. You can tell that he is not used that a girl is helping doing this work but he seems to have fun in doing that with me. In the evening Rodrigo picks me up again; another Peruan specialty is due to try - and for a change that is one I fear since I heard about it: "ceviche", raw fish or seafood, cut into small pieces, with lots o and with the spicy sauce it does not taste that bad – although I probably would not order it on my own. 

The next morning I leave in time as I should be in Chiclayo before noon as Marvin closes his shop on Sunday at that time. The 200km from Piura to Chiclay almost a bit boring if I would not been fan of the desert, the huges dunes. Cristian – my next host – drives with me to the tire dealer who is supposed to have my tire. Nope .... He has one, but not exact the size I need. After calling Marvin again he means that he will have it the next morning! Now I'm really curious; mentally I already count in having to go to Lima – because there is a Heidenau representative with the tires I need. But let's wait ;-)
So I spend the afternoon walking around in Chiclayo while Cristian delivers totally delicious chicken (with rice, potatoes, salad) in the neighborhood. For that he has a special barrel to cook/grill up to 5 chicken in one time, along with the potatoes,

Next morning then back to tire dealer again; Well, he has a tire with almost the given sizes. He fits almost is the type I want to have and the price is quite ok. SO I buy it and we go to a street “llanteras” and within 10 minutes I have finally both new tires. I’m quite glad that I don’t need to go to Lima (only already because of the traffic jam).
Immediately afterwards I'm on my way to my next destination: Trujillo, also a medium-sized town along the coast. The road more or less straight and only 220km from Chiclayo. I decide not to refuel until the next morning because the gasoline is still ok for about 300km. This will be a huge mistake  - probably the really strong sidewinds are responsible for that – after only 180km I have to change to the reserve tank and again after 20km more my Suzy stops. No fuel anymore!!!  Here I am, in the middle of the desert and the next village with a gas station is 5km away. Hmmmm ... I decide to stop a mototaxi and try to send him to buy some fuel for me. At that moment a pickup stops and the driver asks if I have a problem. Well, I’m not embarrassed at all!! But he takes it easy (he’s a biker as well), drives quickly to the village and buys me a gallon of fuel. Of course I’m not allowed to pay him, he gives me is business card in case I have a problem again. Well that's now really a helpful gesture….
In Trujillo I meet with Nestor again at a gas station and once more I’m first introduced to his family (with coffee and cake) and then go out for dinner with his club colleagues. It is really extraordinary how serious these mostly far younger bikers maintain the motorcycle camaraderie ... again I’m not allowed to contribute anything to the dinner. I’m her guest and thus invited !!
Again I stay only one night, without seeing much of Trujillo. As I want to be in Cusco until the 15th of November I quite scheduled the next days. I continue on the "Panamericana Norte" until km 347 !? At km347 Don Clemente operates a restaurant for more than 48 years now;  in the middle of the desert between Chimbote and Barranca . Motorcycle and bicycle travelers are heartily welcome and invited by him. On the way to Don Clemente I’m amazed what lush agriculture shows up among the dunes. Kilometers for kilometers raw sugar, corn, lemons, and rice!!.... I don’t want to know how much fertilizer and additives are needed to produce such rich harvest. The road runs straight almost all the time and so I have time to admire this impressive dunes and desert landscape. I really like these white-yellow-orange-tones and am already looking forward now to the Canons and mountains.

Arriving at km 347 I barely stop the engine and park my bike as Don Clemente stays already next to me. A really cuddly, old man with a wonderful warm smile. He leads me to "his" table where he has all the guest books. Any bicycle or motorcycle traveler who visited him or stayed with him in his small (unofficial) hostel has signed up. After he has immediately ordered something to eat for me we look together at the different items; that's incredibly exciting, including some Swiss. Of course, I leave a message - and as I do not have a personal sticker I draw the Swiss flag and glue a two Swiss stamps as decoration. Don Clemente is very pleased and we talk all afternoon. That's really the only thing you should bring when visiting Don Clemente: Time to talk ;-)

The next morning I?m heading definitely towards the mountains, respectively towards Cusco. I'll meet short before Chimbote with Ira, a German woman on a BMW GS800 adventure and from there we will drive together through the famous "Canon del Pato". This exciting story's then in the next blog. Just that much in advance: where “adventure” is written there will also adventure be found