Posts Tagged ‘adobe adventure agony alarm America amy winehouse archeological arrival barren bastards beverage bicycle Bruning camping Caribbean casa de ciclistas Central America Chan Chiclayo Chimbote churned coas


CE: Moche, Chimu, Sechura, and Trujillo

SechuraHmm, feels like its been a while since I let you all in on what I´m up to these days. When I left Piura over a week ago I jumped headfirst into the Sechura desert, fulling planning to only do half the journey through the desert on the first day, camp in the dunes that evening, and finish the journey to Chiclayo the following day. But it didn´t quite work out that way.

As I was riding along through, well, nothing, I quickly realized that I was making great time and thought to myself ¨hey, at this pace I could be almost to Chiclayo by the end of the day¨. I wasn´t to keen on camping in the sand either, and don´t trust putting up a tent in places visible to the highway (and I don´t know if you´ve ever tried to push a heavily loaded bicycle through sand for very far, but it just don´t work). So, this in mind and the fact being that it was the one year anniversary of this lunatic adventure, I decided what the hell – lets break a record.

It was over 125 miles from Piura to Chiclayo and, although I had started riding at 4:30 in the morning and gone about half the distance by almost noon, I still had the determination to keep things rolling. But that´s when the s%$t hit the fan – or, actually, somebody turned the fan towards me to blow it at me. As if it weren´t enough that the entire white sand horizon was wavering under the intense desert sun, the wind decided to pick up as well. And which way did it blow? You can probably imagine.

So I rode, face-first into the howling, gale like gusts. What had earlier been a labor of passion for progress quickly turned into Saharan-Peruvian sand torture. I was physically pouring my strength into every rotation of the bicycle´s pedals and moving at about a quarter of the speed that I had been before. It wasn´t pretty.

Dead in the DesertSo to sum it up, around almost 9:00pm, after over fifteen hours on a bicycle and about 112 miles, I arrived in Morrope, a provincial village about 20 miles North of Chiclayo. Ironically, by that time all I could dream of was a shower and laying down – however things weren´t going to be that simple.

Apparently there was only one hotel in town and it was, yep, you guessed it, full. Oh for the love of Pete, what was I supposed to do now! I didn´t want to camp tonight! But thankfully, some friendly street kids came to my aid in my moment of despair. They told me that the ¨Comiseria¨ along the plaza could perhaps offer me a place to sleep for the evening. Comiseria? Hey, that doesn´t sound so bad – little did I know.

So in Peru Comiseria is what the call the police station, and although the gentlemen of the force happened to be quite friendly, it wasn´t the most inviting of accomodations. To summarize, I slept on a concrete floor in a dusty old room that opened to the back lot and, since there was no running water, poured buckets of cold water over my head to fruitlessly attempt to remove the fifty layers of sunscreen from my skin.

The Barber ShopHowever, the next morning I was up and at em bright and early and on my way to Lambayeque, a town just a tiny bit North of Chiclayo where two of the region´s best museums were located. After visiting the somewhat interesting Bruning Museum and the fascinating Tumbas Reales de Sipan museum, I was ready to get to the city and get settled in, so off I went.

I spent the next two days relaxing and recovering from the desert ride in Chiclayo, along with a nice visit out to the eroded old adobe temple of Sican about an hour Northeast of Chiclayo. Even after only so short a visit, I found little to do in the town and grew restless to make further progress down along the Peruvian coast. Plus, I was paying a whopping five bucks a night to sleep in Chiclayo, whereas in Trujillo the Casa de Ciclistas awaited lured me forward with promises of free and company.

So on the third morning in Chiclayo I was once again up and riding out of the city well before sunrise and on my way to Pacasmayo, a tiny seaside village halfway between Chiclayo and Trujillo. The day´s journey through the barren desert went by relatively insignificantly and by around noon-time I was rolling down the final hill to sea level in the little rag-tag town.

PacasmayoI found a place to stay for the evening right in the middle of town and then set off to see the ocean for the first time since the Caribbean coast of Colombia – which already seemed like an eternity ago. I spent the afternoon and evening hours in serenity, strolling through the town and down the wharf searching for whatever photo opportunities that decided to show themselves.

Then finally, the following morning came and it was the final leg to Trujillo, one of the cities of which I had been looking forward to in Northern Peru for some time. Sadly however, my glorious arrival didn´t quite go as smoothly as I had envisioned before awaking that morning.

When I tried to roll out of bed at the sound of my alarm in the wee hours of the morning, I felt groggy and ill. I heard the sound of rain pattering on the roof (yep, in the desert – go figure) and decided I´d sleep it off for the next hour or so and then hit the road. Well, about two hours later I finally got out of bed, still feeling like trash, and told myself that it was time to get going.

But as I rode along, things soon went from bad to worse. From the very beginning of my ride I had felt sluggish and as if I were working double-time for half the result. I was making painfully slow progress and didn´t have the energy to do anything about it. Several hours later it all went to hell.

Los AmigosMy stomach dropped and my guts churned (hehe) and I felt the desire to just fall off my bicycle and roll over in the desert dead. Something was terribly wrong.

I made about five stops in the space of one hour before finally arriving in Paijan, barely able to muster the strength to ride the last few miles into town. I got to the first place that sold cold beverages that I could find, stumbled in the door, payed for a coke, and then barely made it outside before collapsing on the concrete floor of the covered patio out front.

This was bad, this was real bad. I was still conscious but in agony, and I felt like I just couldn´t go on. This is one of those types of times that you just want to be at home in bed and not even have to think about getting out for anything or anyone. Too bad I don´t have a home.

Ladder BoyPlus, of all the places that I had been warned about in all my journey (aside from Colon, Panama and basically all the big cities in Central America), Paijan had been one of them. And here I was, completely incompetent and defenseless. Finally, I mustered up the strength to go back inside and ask the ladies in the restaurant for help (apparently in Latin America people collapsing outside of your place of business is pretty common and I think you just wait for the vultures to come and clean them up).

With their advice I found out where the bus station was, less than a mile down the road, and set off towards it. I was not going to let this beat me – and I was not going to sleep in Paijan. Thankfully, right as I was rolling (literally rolling) up into the center of town, the bus was just about to pull out. I managed to get everything loaded up in record time, climbed about our yellow El Dorado rig to Trujillo, and slumped down into one of the almost comfy bus seats, just thankful that it wasn´t a saddle and that in here there was shade and a breeze.

A little over a half an hour later we were arriving in the city of Trujillo – and thank God, I could barely take it anymore. I managed to get my things transfered from the bus and into a cab and we were quickly speeding towards the Casa de Ciclistas (oops, that means House of Cyclists, by the way) where I could hopefully find reprieve.

Another Hard Working GuardWell that was about three days ago, and now I´m feeling almost all better. It did take me the entire rest of the day and the following one to really start coming around, but since then I´ve managed to get out and start enjoying some of the sights and other pleasant characteristics that the city has to offer… although there has been some absolutely ridiculous drama going on at the casa de ciclistas since I got there (maybe more on that another time).

Yesterday I made an excursion out to the archeological site of the ancient adobe city of Chan Chan, which according to my guide is the largest pre-Columbian city in South America and the largest adobe city in the world – yeah, it was kinda cool. Then I headed to the nearby beach town of Huanchaco for a late afternoon stroll, some photography, and to watch the dreamy sunset over the South Pacific.

Alright, so other than my trip to the archeological dig of the ancient Moche temple of Huaca de la Luna earlier today, thats about it. Have made a wonderful new friend here in Trujillo named Paola with whom I have plans this evening and think I will be sticking around town for another two days or so.

After that I should be heading down one day´s ride to the port town of Chimbote farther along the coast, from which I´ll catch a bus up to Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca for a short visit and some hiking before coming back down to the coast. Apparently the Cordillera Blanca is the second highest mountain range in the world after the Himalayas – so yeah, I´m not riding my biking, if thats what you were wondering, you smug bastards.

Alright, love you all, more to come soon!


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