Friday, January 15, 2010

The heat of the midday sun- Piura, Peru

Welcome to Peru
Rice paddies where I saw a guy wading bare footed and knee deep in water with a pesticide pack on his back waiving a chemical sprayer wand to eliminate pests.

Getting dinner ready

Mountain pass over the sierra to peru

Guy delivering propane tanks with his motorbike, he was transporting only 2 with a capacity for 3.

Trip 450km
Currency: Peruvian Sol
Exchange rate: 1USD=2.83 Sol
Hotel: 70 Sol
Fuel: 9 Sol/gallon
Here we are on the outskirts of the Desierto De Sechura in Peru after crossing the border only a 178km ago from Ecuador. Leaving Loja at 8am was little deterrent from the desert sun as we descended from 2100 meters to only 80 meters. The border crossing was a breeze and we made it through in less than an hour.
We arrived to a desert town Piura after passing several mango farms. Peru has a serious litter problem and this is apparent with the colorful ditches and trees decorated with multiple colors of plastic bags.
As we were rounding a corner I happened to see a beautiful tarantula crawling across the road. I stopped and Julie got off the bike. I was fumbling with the bike trying to get it stable on the side stand before a car came along and squashed it. Alas, I was not fast enough. I heard the car whizzing along at speed and to my grave disappointment the spider was hit dead on and lay frozen in its motionless state. I stared at it for a moment while the excitement of seeing my first wild tarantula dissolved into anger, and then guilt, thinking that perhaps if I had not stopped, the car would have chosen a different line through the turn rather than give me a wide birth on the side of the road. I yelled to Julie to "just get on the bike" as I couldn't look back. It took me 45 minutes to forget about it. Just then, however, a beautiful brown bird darted across the road and into my spokes. I turned around and Julie got off to throw its dead body into the grass and off the road. So far on this trip I have managed to kill 3 animals including a green snake in Guatemala.
Entering Peru the border guard warned me about the animals on the road between the border and Piura. He was very right. Only a few Km down the highway and we had our first herd of goats cross directly in front of us. The crossings did not end, further down the road was a herd of donkeys, and then more goats, dogs, people etc. As we went further west towards the coast the temperature continued to increase to 38 degrees C. The heat was sweltering and to compound matters we entered a small town as there was no sign indicating that the highway was a 90 degree right hand turn off the road heading into the town. We idled around the oneway streets looking for a bank to withdraw Sol's (Peruvian currency). There were no banks and the TUK-TUK's had us completely surrounded. I was wondering if anyone actually owned a car and how lucrative the Tuk-tuk Business was considering that everyone was driving one. Perhaps they were merely a substitute for a car and not used as a taxi at all.
I found the highway as I left town the same way I went in. Alas there was a sign indicating a left turn west to the highway we were looking for. We continued onward passing heavily loaded down pick up trucks laden with mangos. It was 3:00Pm and Piura was our destination with only 50km to go. Arriving into Piura was chaos as usual, everyone was laying on the horn impatiently trying to squeeze into any gap ahead of the next guy. We were looking for any accomodations what-so-ever to escape the heat. Several times we passed a hotel where I needed to make a left u-turn. As I set up wide, some dude on a motorbike or little Fiat would scoot right up beside me making the 2 lane street into 4 vehicles abreast. I aborted my plans and kept driving straight along with the honking and beeping Tuk-Tuks.
We found a Hostal willing to let me park the bike inside a locked gate. They had some hollow bricks at the curb side being used as make shift stairs. I rode the heavy KLR up the bricks and the rear wheel smashed them. The elderly lady was annoyed, but the young lady told me to not worry about it, so I let sleeping dogs lie.
We went for dinner at a pub style restaurant and ordered some good food. Here we planned on leaving as early as possible to beat the heat while we crossed the desert which supposedly takes 4 hours. After that we'll try to head back east and up into the mountains at Chiclayo to take advantage of the adiabatic cooling offered by the high mountains.


  1. Hey there! This is Angel, my brother Beto and I met you in El Tunco at La Guitara. Looks like you two have covered a lot of ground! I just got to Bogota last night and spent half the day today getting my bike through Girag and customs! I have a question, do you have a route map of your travels to tuis date?
    Happy Travels



  2. Hi Greg and Julie!

    Just a little note to say keep up the great writing! I love reading your updates, and am totally living vicariously through you both. I particularly love the different tone between Greg's posts and Julie's. Lots of good laughs to be had on your adventures.

    Continued safe travels!