22.12.16 Lima, Peru to Ica, Peru
Ok so Peru has turned out to be the most challenging of the countries we've visited so far.
We left at 7.20am this morning to try to avoid the traffic of Lima city- even then it still took 30 minutes to negotiate about 10 miles, and with Paul having to employ his most defensive riding skills. There are no apparent rules to driving in Peru, only perhaps when it seems we may have been doing something wrong by "officials"
Everything is just that little bit more tricky for us because of the width of the bike and sidecar. Once we'd made it back onto the Pan American highway this morning, it wasn’t log before there was a toll booth. As you know before, we have had various difficulties with these. We saw that we would not fit in the designated gap for motorbikes, so we pulled to the side of a very wide booth lane to ride around the barrier. Perhaps understandably there, the lady in the booth had to ring someone first to see if we can go for free. Once agreed, she allowed us through. However, this morning, at the second barrier, we were not allowed to do that, there two workers who were insistent that we drove through the too narrow motorcycle lane. They were not interested that it didn't fit. Our tempers were very short, because of the traffic challenges, and there may have been some shouting!
I got out of the sidecar and moved all of the plastic barrier aside, while the men walked behind me putting them back after Paul rode through. All well and good, until halfway, there was a metal barrier that we could not get past. Paul started yelling, and I moved the plastic barrier out further. A further 6 men appeared and they all started shouting and waving their arms that we had to carry on through the lane where we didn't fit. I too started yelling, everyone was yelling, no,no! Eventually they decided that we could move the plastic barriers and go into the other lane, before making Paul return to the motorcycle lane again.
It is so difficult to understand this way of thinking, when other rules are blatantly ignored.
We have found some genuinely good people in Peru, but the majority, so far, do not smile, are miserable, rude to everybody, and don't seem to respect each other.
We are heading further south, where we are hoping that the way of life is calmer, cleaner and generally brighter. We are optimistic of this as we have been told it is lovely.
It is amazing how a smile, an act of kindness, and a welcome can change the day. It seems pretty embarrassing to shout and make a fuss, but in this instance I suppose going with the flow means communicating in the only way the people understand.
Along the road, the contrast between the crystal turquoise sea rolling onto the sandy beaches and coves and the tumbling down buildings surrounded by rubbish and rubble is a real trick for the brain. The intermingling of salty sea whipping up your nose combined with the tang of urine, which seems to line everywhere you go
Sometimes it becomes very tricky to gain perspective on this great and wonderful journey. To not be living exactly in that moment whether it be a moment of pure stress or pure joy. As Christmas approaches, aftr six months on the road, we are really looking forward to meeting up with John and Wendy the other sidecar couple at Nazca tomorrow, for laughs, reflection, sharing and recuperation.. One thing I do know is I have never felt as vitally alive as I do now. To experience life in a way that I have only read about. I don't think Paul or I will ever be the same again.