Bordercrossing from Bolivia to Peru cost us 5 USD. Here's the story: On the Peruvian side, the customs official asked if we had bike insurance. "Of course," we said, and presented him with the card issued by an Argentinian insurance company (which we actually knew was only good for Argentina, but we decided to try our luck). The guy inspected it carefully and said it is not valid in Peru and that the law does not allow to enter without a valid insurance. "So, what shall we do," he asked, probably hoping for a bribe, but we never offered it to him. So he called his boss and together they decided, that since it was Sunday and all the insurance companies were closed, they would "make an exception" and let us in without the insurance. How lovely! The younger official really seemed very helpful and even gave us hints on what to do if the police should stop us and ask for the insurance, so we really started to think that he was on our side. Everything was very positive until the moment when he reminded us that it was a big exception that they were making and that his boss would appreciate some "money for the coffee" for his signature on our papers, which in his opinion was some 10-20 USD. We took out the smallest banknote that we had from the wallet and gave it to him saying that that's all we have.
We were glad we got off with 5 USD, but what is remarkable about all this, is that they really put on a great show, and actually got us by surprise. One would think that a greedy officer would try to threaten and to make you nervous, but here they did exactly the opposite, so we didn't have a clue how it would end. A good lesson about emotional intelligence, that's for sure!
Once we crossed into Peru we first started to see huge amounts of 3-wheelers:
And people running around with pigs:
And headed for Cuzco, which is a decent city, massive boring churches built by conquerors using rocks from defeated Incas' very original buildings (very sad):
Views to Cuzco:
Panorama (click to enlarge)
And people on the streets:
Says "hygienic services", or a public sauna if you like.
One of the Peruvian saints.
The real Peru started after Cuzco for us - most of North-Peru is built up for tourism and is very boring. We skipped Machu Picchu because of outrageous prices and because of being filled with farting fat tourists. Popular, overhyped and noisy stuff ain't the thing for us.
So we headed to search for something more decent and less hyped. Peruvian mountaneous landscapes off the beaten track fit like a glove:
City below (pic taken over 4000 meters over sea-level)
And of course - llama sheperds
Decent greenish valleys...
And people living over 4500 meters! (click to enlarge)
And people living on extremely steep mountainsides.
Zoom in, see the buildings and land being taken care of.
And it gets from fresh greenish to a burnt deserted nature the closer you get to the Pacific.
This is the highest known sand dune in the World - Cerro Blanco - 2287 meters (click to enlarge)
More original Peruvian deserts (click to enlarge)
Which brings us to the flora & fauna living in Peru's deserts:
A big and fast running bug.
Camouflaged lizard (click to enlarge).
(click to enlarge)
And a falcon making circles in the air above it all...
Peruvian landscape panoramas (click to enlarge each one in new window, and then click again to see them in full size, then scroll the horizontal scroller - makes you feel like you're looking around there yourself):
Sunset at 4500m.
Our wild camp site in the morning at 3850 meters - freezing night it was!
Just 100 meters away from there.
Other green valleys and mountains...
Till it all got more deserted...
Close to the Pacific ocean lie the amazing Nazca lines
. We took a boxer engined airplane to see them in their real beauty:
Some landscapes before the lines:
And till the lines appeared:
Tree and hands.
Back in Nazca (the village) we had a decent lunch and while eating a big parrot flew inside the restaurant, jumped up on waiters call and got rewarded with fruits for such an act:
After that, it was fast riding on smooth tarmac to North - on the infamous Panamericana road.
Just a straight road, a relaxed all day ride at 80mph.
Riding through capital Lima was relatively painless, some traffic jams, few times we got lost into gettho, but what really dissapointed us was the rubbish that was everywhere, and the rotting smells. Lima really is a nasty place:
Lima's like a junk yard - with burning plastic on some corners etc.
Typical Lima streets.
And Lima's planning and architecture isn't among the best...
And everywhere we were stared at like some wonder-bike.
More peruvian 3-wheelers.
Want to buy rubbish? Lima's the best place!
What a relief it was to get through Lima. Shortly after we escaped from the infamous corrupt police north of Lima, who always mess with foreign bikers asking money, we landed on a safe krishna
site aside the ocean - Asia in South-America:
Krishna cones - sacred place.
One of the cones inside.
Panorama (click to enlarge)
They had all sorts of animals running around the garden freely:
Some pictures from the Pacific ocean side in the morning:
Poor people collecing and sorting the best out of rubbish left over from the last night's beach party.
Northern Peru's panoramas (click to enlarge each one):
Another of our wild camping sites in the dune's shade (high winds).
Peru kind of sucked for us, if to say it in American English. So far, Peru has been the only country in South-America where we felt and were treated like a moving $$$-wallet. Nowhere else in South-America we've felt it so intensely. Bolivia is poorer country than Peru, but it was much better in the latter field, people aren't that "hungry" for money from gringo
-tourists. While Peru had some super-nice landscapes and nature in the South, Lima and the North with it's rubbish layer till horizons and it's "hungry" people eliminated Peru from our favourite countries list, and rather put it in the end of the list. I really hope others experience it better, because for us, Peru did in fact suck big time in the overall picture.
Good night, Margus