Sunday, February 20, 2011

Peru - Moto Dancing, Heavenly Turquoise Lake, Eating Guinea Pig, Fighting the Police, Ancient Caral-as old as Egypt, Lima, Church of Bones

Current route thus far through Peru


View South America Part 3 in a larger map

So I mentioned in the last post I was on a route referred to me by some strangers. It went through the mountains through Huarez.

This route took me from Trujillo Peru to El Canon del Pato to a city called Caraz through the Andes….again.

I’ve crossed this mountain range so many times I’ve lost count.

The awesome desert route continued.







So what happens when you give Alex a straight road and he gets bored, that's right some moto dancing! I have gotten a lot of good feedback from my first dancing video in Colombia. So as embarrassing as this is, it always makes me laugh and smile, so I hope it does for everyone too.

So back by popular demand- Crazy Moto Dancing!



So I found my way through the town onto this gravel road.

The scenery was immensely awesome.



And the rock tunnels carved straight into the mountain were amazing, and very dangerous, two of my favorite combinations.







This is definitely on my craziest most hazardous roads ever taken in life, and it was fantastic!






I've had some crazy bridge crossings, but this one is on the top 3. Any slight miscalculation and your toast!




This video may be a little long, but its a contemplation of some of this amazing road I want to share with everyone.

Check out the close calls I have with traffic at minute 5:20 and 5:40.



The only down side was that every 2 hours or so I would run into a small village or group of people on the side of the road. And the kids would either throw rocks at me as I drove by, or the people would yell at me as I rode by, this consistency occurred. If you've seen the movie Star Wars, I felt like I was driving through the Valley of the Sand People with projectiles being thrown at me

For the first time on my trip I felt an area completely hostile and dangerous, I couldn’t quite figure out what the deal was. I hope it was only an isolated incidence as the rest of Peru has been great.

I finally arrived in Caraz and called it a night.

The following day I started my trek to Lima, the capital.

So what do you have for breakfast in a tiny little hotel that has only one thing, that’s right Cuy! Aka Guinea pig. Well I had to finally try it, and it came at a cheap small price so I jumped on the opportunity. The taste is indescribable, it’s like the texture of duck, a little greasier than chicken but different more musky taste. It didn’t have much meat but was worth a try.



After my guinea pig morning I realized I was near a lake that was recommended by word of mouth to me, somewhere, by someone. So I decided to  check out lago Paron.




I initially thought it would only be about an hour or so away, but this trek took 3 hours to get there. Once again I climbed the Andes to the top of the clouds on a dirt road overlooking the edge of death straight down.



The way up provided me an opportunity to capture a picture of a place we seem to only dream about




As I drove this drive road, there were cascades and a rivers everywhere with absolutely turquoise water, it was amazing.

Once at the lake, it too was the most intense color of turquoise I’ve ever seen in water.





The road to get there was extremely dangerous and adventurous, and it was fantastic!



Gorgeous is what it was.





I then proceeded a little faster down the mountains.

I drove the entire rest of the day, and at about 6 pm I was at least 2 hours from anything and I hadn’t even gotten back on the Pan American Highway yet. My treks have taken me far away from the road most traveled to the road less traveled, the adventurous, out of the way and most beautiful of places.

Coming out of the Andes

Now 7pm I was finally on the Pan America highway. As I drove it was now dark, I usually don’t drive at night but in this case I hadn’t  seen civilization in a few hours and was headed towards the next big city and hour from where I was at.



With perfect timing, as soon as I got onto the highway there was a police check point. So you guessed it, I was pulled over. I was told to surrender my credentials and paper work. I was then told that it was illegal to drive a motorcycle on the Pan America after 6pm.

So I thought to myself, boy that sounds stupid, so can’t drive at night after 6pm with a motorbike, so what about everyone else I’ve seen at night on motorcycles. Plus I was told of no such thing at the border.

So my spidey sense was tingling and I knew once again the Peru officials were out for “plata” aka bribe money.

Since I have entered South America I have been a man on a mission, to fight corruption and the thought of another cop pulling me aside to get money from me actually made me a little bit angry, this is the first bit of angry or rage I have felt the entire trip.

So the cop starts talking and keeps telling me that I have committed an infraction of the law. As diplomatically as I could I tried o telling them I was have never heard of any such curfew law and made sure I was told of every law at the border entering Peru and that was not one of them. I was brashly ignored as usual.

He said he was fining me and started to go through some papers and write stuff down. At that moment I was fed up with everything about cops and had driven all day, 7am to 7pm, I was tired, grouchy and was not to be messed with and promised myself that I would not pay a single penny or sol to this guy. So I said to myself, ok self, time to fight back at corruption, take matters into your own hands, fight for what’s right, be brave, be smart and teach this guy a lesson, worst case scenario a night in a Peru jail will be a good story for the blog.

So I turned off the bike, lifted up my visor, took off my helmet, looked the cop right in the eyes and said, “Infraction…good, I’ll take that citation now”. The cop was baffled, and didn’t know what to do. So I said “Chacon, its spelled C…H…A…C..O….N….. And it’s also on the bike and the credential for your records, so you can correctly write me that citation, oh and please write down what your citing me for to so I can correctly discuss it with your boss”. I kept egging him on to give me the citation. Again he looked like a deer in the head lights. Confident he could still get money from me, he stood up to me and threatened to impound the bike and arrest me for such talk.

Intelligently I distracted him from that thought and continued nagging at him to give me the ticket. I said “I’m waiting for the ticket so I can go please”.  I stood tall, didn’t move, and continued giving him my angry poker face. It was a showdown, corrupt official vs. Alex-the  grouchy, determined, and angry at the world guy that wasn’t taking crap from anyone.

The cop gave me a skewed look, saw I wasn't moving a muscle and knew he couldn’t do anything to get some money from me, so he threw my credentials back at me and drove off without a word.

Victory! I did it! I starred corruption in the face, called the guys bluff and achieved a much needed victory against this unfortunate corruption that plagues the officials of Peru.

Alex the badass negotiator, cleaning up the streets of Peru one traffic cop at a time!

So I arrived in Barrancas for the evening and headed off to Lima in the morning.

On my way to Lima I visited the ruins of Caral, the oldest civilization and ruins of all the Americas. That’s all of North, Central and South America, and it’s as old as the Egyptian pyramids if not older.



This civilization was put what seemed like the middle of the Sahara desert, and it was evident nature took its course in losing it to the sands of time.





Yes crazy hair I know


It was barely “discovered” (two finger anecdote), in 1994 and was barely being reconstructed, which is a fancy way of saying its an active archrcheoligical site that requires you to pay extra and hire a guide to show you around.





As I love the desert, I loved these pyramids. It felt as I was walking through the pyramids of Egypt.






I could give you a bunch of fascinating history but I’ll let you Google that for your own interest.

Ok, well call it fate or destiny, but all those signs you saw that had information became redundant and I lost interest. But on the way out I took one last look at one, and this is what I saw


Its called Ojo de Dios. Recently if you've noticed on my page there a new tab on the top and there's a donate to charity button, after some time of work I was finally able to square away a few legal issues but finally finished a partnership with the foundation Los Ojos de Dios.Coincidence?

They officially got on board with my adventure and are officially supporting this adventure to help raise money for them. This is a wonderful organization that rescues abandoned and disabled children and gives them a family, home, education and so much more.

I will be donating my supplies, souvenirs, necklaces, bracelets I've acquired from every country and more.

Check out the link or tab for more details
http://motorcyclesouthamerica.blogspot.com/p/charity-ojos-de-dios.html

So visiting the oldest ruins in the Western Hemisphere, check,  onward to Lima!

Arriving in Lima was confusing to say the least. It is such a huge capital getting lost is a given. They even had the highway restricted to only public transport, taxis and personal vehicles, motorcycles were not allowed. So that made my finding a way through quite difficult.

Finally settled in, I was off to explore the city.

Downtown



I visited a church where the entire city of Lima was buried in the old days, as it seems there was nowhere else to put dead bodies for a period of time.



There were nice paintings, and places the dead were placed. These tunnels under the church housed the bones and remains of the people, benefactors and priests.





It was closed off for a period of time as the smell was overtaking.



They wouldn’t allows any picture taking what so ever in the church, especially the tombs, but I’ve never really been good at following silly rules.






The capital was nice as well, and even took a stroll through China town. I saw like 7 Chinese people in total, way too few for China town, I was sad about that.



I continued the typical tourist walking around and enjoying the city.

After my visit and a day in Lima, I was off to the mysterious Nazca Lines. How they got there? is my adventure to figure out.