Here I sit in an Internet cabina in an expensive hotel in Chiclayo, Peru. Well expensive for Peru. My experience Peru has not been the greatest so far. The highilght of this statement is my funnel puke in a restaurant on Mancora on Sunday morning. Yup. It wasn’t a great scene but, based on other people travel accounts, my turn was up.
The previous day I traveled from Quito, Ecuador to the border. This was a long haul and I was up at 5:30 and departed at 6:30. The ride was pretty good but very long. I traveled from cool to tropics in a day. That was pretty sweet. There seems to be some new wide lane concrete roads here which differs from Tyson´s account in which the roads were really poor. There were knarly sections but not many. Cool.
Finally arriving at the border, there were impressive new looking signs. That is good. No mistake here. The border crossing was at a town called Huaqillas. Well, its complicated. So I follow the signs to the frontera over the bridge and pass by a building under construction and suggenly notice ” bye bye” Ecuador, “welcome to Peru”. No immigration or customs on the Ecuadorian side. The sun is still up, but only for an hour or two. At the Peruvian side, I explain to them that I have to go back to get my exit stamps. As I head back, I asked a security booth at the under construction building as to were the migracion and aduana buildings are. I get jumbled responses but enough to point me in the right direction.
At the toll into Huaquillas, I inquire and I am told “that way”. I continued and continued and found nothing except for a busy “down town” — which as it turns out — was likely the old border crossing, having read through some blogs by others. I turn around starting to get pissed off. As in you have this brand spanking new border, and all the sign saying “frontera” and none saying “please use the old order” — or customs and immigration this way. With a few more questions I manage to find the migracion office. It was a small building which something of a beer tent in front with the name on it. Not obvious guys! I manage to get my exit stamp. As for the question about aduana, the migracion officer couldn’t answer it. What do you mean you don´t know where your customs are?
I ignore him and head back to cross the round-about remembering what the security guy had said. I finally asked a taxi and he said aduana was another five minutes in the same direction. Great signage guys. Indeed it was there. Without too much hassle, I “signed” my bike out of Ecuador and headed back to the border. This process had taken about an hour. On the Peruvians side, while rough, all of the buildings were in one place. It look rather outback in that there was nothing around except for a bunch of portables sitting on course gravel under a long roof covering them all. I´m sure that these were temporary while the new buildings were being finished. Immigration wasn´t bad. Fill out a form and get my passport stamped. Getting the bike in was a pain in the ass though.
Having stepped up to the window, a somewhat portly and sluggish man handed me a card to fill out, as if I had disturbed him from something else he was doing. I stood at a table and attempted to fill it out. The one contention that was surely to arise on this trip is that Ontario´ministry of transport lists my KLR650 as “KLE”. I am not sure why. I already had my “story” worked out for this. KLR650 is the common name. KLR650E is the model specific name, differentiating it from previous models. And KLE was the internal Kawasaki “technical” name. I don´t think that this is a full fabrication becase I now that I have seen it referred to as such in certain places — perhaps even the shop manual — such as for specific OEM parts through Kawi (I think). Anyways, yes the aduana guy didn´t like this and made me fill out a new one.
Having spent 20 minutes filling out forms, it was not time to enter it into the computer. My ID was in the 200´s so apparntly this gentleman had not had opportunity to learn the aduana software very well as he basically fumbled through it for half and hour. Darkness having fallen, he had real issues trying to put their internal code in for 650cc. Three times he had to refer to a chart on the wall but the software wasn´t accepting it. Finally he got the number of zeros right. And on the drop down list of Kawaski bike models…you guessed it, KLR — not KLR650 or KLE. It had to do. Finally it was time to go. I head off into the darkness of this new country.
It was a weird senstation have now idea was was ahead of me. It was pitch black and I was aiming for Mancora. A met a guy on a GS some time earlier who goes by MotoGringo. Mancora was apparently a good place to stop. I travelled for about 1.5 hours in the darkness noticing that there was at times ocean to my right and hazy objects that looked like dunes. I eventually arrived in Mancora. Just as I pulled over to look up places to stay I mototaxi pulled up and started pestering me. I still had to go back to the cajero to get some Peruvian Soles. And perhaps food first as well. I wasn´t sure. Well the taxi driver just didn´t know how to take fuck off as an answer. Well, I didn´t say it but he wouldn´t go away. Finally I submitted and figured he may have something to offer. The first place was equivilent to $50 with jacuzzis and all of that and I wasn´t impressed. As I explained, bed, secure parking for the bike, and perhaps wifi — jacuzzis — no.
We hit another place. It was about two to three times what LP suggested I need to pay in this town but it looked reasonable secure and I was getting fed up. I was getting pretty pissy though. I was tired and rather hungry and really didn´t feel like staying at a “resort” type place. Don´t get me wrong . It wasn´t at all what you think of as a resort. It was just cabanas surrounded by a fence with a pool. Beer and other liquids were apparently available but food was not. For this I had to hike 10 minutes back to the main street through the dusty tourist shanty town. Being in a desert it was rather dusty but definitely a vacation town. On the main strip, there was an open air market plus a bunch of restaurants. Not being able find find a cajero, I ended up at a pizza place that accepted visa. Having eaten a fairly tasty anchovey and olive pizza (which was well cooked) I attempted to pay with Visa. No dice. My emergency replacement Visa didn´t work. While their menu clearly stated that they did not accept Gringo dollars, I explained the situation and we worked out the bill.
My room was fine for the most part, but the wifi, which was being leached off of the neighbouring hotel (obviously with their permission since a phone call had to be made to get the key) was flakey and the shower did not have a shower head. Yes. I paid way to much for this hotel for what it was. I slept and woke feeling a little nauseous. Dehydration for the day before? I sipped plenty of water. The neighbours were up by 7am already drinking and invited me to whatever they were drinking. Rum? I politely declined indicating that I would be riding my moto. They were obnoxious, grrrr. By 8 or 9 people were in the pool drinking beer and one guy was passed out at the poolside table with a beer. This is 9am folks.
I made my exit to the main strip to find something to eat. I was starting to feel queezy and figured it was partially the heat (30 something), hunger and dehydration. I went to the cajero and then sat down for a somebreakfast. I should have ordered the pancakes but the temptation of a lobster omollette was to great. I also order a juice. Papaya. I expected a wee glass but it came as a tankard. The coffee came as a glass of hot water and vial of black liquid — presumably pre-diluted instant coffee that you were expected to add to the hot water — yuck.
I consumed the juice still trying to decide whether I actually really like papaya — I do like mango — but they didn´t have any. My food came and I started to eat it but noticed the waves of nausea had also started to come. Dammit! The writing was on the wall. I quickly asked for the baños and grabbed my gear and dropped it on the floor inside the restaurant. OK. Woman´s washroom. Would that do? It would have to. No wait! There´s the men´s. Open door. Quickly. Toilet seat up. Nope…blahhhhhhhhh. Papaya stream everywhere. Walls. Floor. Dammit. The remaining voilence continued into the toilet. All done, I washed my face and sheepishly summoned the waitress trying to communicate to her that I required a bucket and mops. In the end she went at it with a mop, appoligizing profusely, I drank some bottle water, paid the bill and gave her a reasonable tip for the cleanup job.
I felt OK for the most part at this time. I got on my bike and started to ride. Everytime I stopped, I would feel worse to I continued to ride making sure I was taking in water. The morning progressed and I figured I would try some Inca Kola. Maybe it would be a substitute for ginger ale. A few more twist and turns and my stomach was at it again. Then that burning senstation and then the imminent. I pulled over very quickly on this desert highway, side stand down, off the bike, gloves off, reaching for the helmet strap…dammit…not in time. Yup. Puked in my helmet. Almost solely water. So while gross, it could have been worse. Once the dry heaves were complete, I pulled out my 1 gallon water jug and did my best to clean things off and got back on my way.
I was feeling better for the most part until the temperature started to drop. Only by about 7 degrees but it was enough to cool me off. I also realized that I should have stopped for gas earlier as I was going through a stretch of several hundred kilometers of flat, windy, arid desert and was starting to have fuel anxiety — for good reason. I eventually hit reserve. And then my reserve was done and my engine sputtered. I coasted along the should as if the a couple extra meters would make a different. Haha! I still have about two litres in my MSR fuel bottles — (largely unused) fuel source for my stove and backup gasoline. Ta da! A gasonlinera just in time. I filled up everything and headed on my way. I didn’t say “merry way” for a reason. I really wasn´t feeling very hot by this point.
Knowing darn well that I wasn´t going to make Trujillo, which is the mid-point before Lima, I pulled over to where I am now. I had a quiet evening of internetting with JP, hot showers and a very heavy sleep with long underwear and wool socks on and the spare blanket from the cupboard. Here I am now, deciphering whether I am sick or not — do I need to hold up here for the day? Or have I made my recovery? I´m starving , and except for the attempted meal 24 hours ago, I haven´t eaten since the night before. We´ll see how it goes and I´m sure you will here about it.
Now I need to find a map. Yes. Peru is one of the bigger countries down here. I managed to bring two maps for Argentina and none from Peru. Whoops. Right now I have been navigatig through Peru with GPS and an a low resolution AAA map, now in tatters, that Tyson and I used for trip planning at Volo how many months back.