Welcome to Peru!

March 2, 2010

Welcome to Peru!

Why is is that most borders are at a river? I guess it’s boundary that does not move so much.

But hey, I cross the river and there’s the “border pig”. My lucky day!

I go to the Migracion office, get a form that I have to fill out. THEN, I have to take the form to the police.

Nobody home, but there are 5 people shouting at me (typical at borders). Luckily they are pointing, and for once everyone is pointing in the same direction, too, so I shrug and walk in that direction.

oh. Silly me.

I get logged into another book, chit chat with the officer, who tells me welcome! Macchu Piccu is  now open (NoT! I heard on the news  earlier that it would be mid-March!) He tells me I can get great discounts now because nobody is there.


Anyway, I entertain myself with the big spider (live) and the snake (dead) on his desk. He says a few days ago he was going someone’s paperwork and they told him that this poisonous snake was my his foot. This was a few days ago and I suggest he not open the jar now…

I walk back to migracion, and he finished my paperwork.

THEN I can go to the Aduana and start the paperwork for the bike (which, curiously, he does not need any of the aforementioned paperwork from the migracion process, so he COULD have been processing my bike all this time, but that is efficient and unheard of). Besides, this is a SOCIAL event. He spends lots of time talking to me about my trip, lots of time going over the map, lots of time pridefully telling me all about his wonderful country Peru. I like it very much.

It’s late, though, and so so I ask how far to the next village because I am not going to make it to Pedro Ruiz tonight .

(Day 3 and I am now 3 days behind.)

I get a ridiculously cheap hotel (12 soles, $4) with a private room and  shared bath, and walk around the town a bit.  I buy a soda and sit on a bench to watch the kids play soccer int eh street, but there’s a drunk guy that keeps bothering me, so I go to bed early without dinner.


March 3, 2010

I get an early start, and the clouds cooperate and begin to clear early as well.

It takes me two hours to ride to San Ignacio, and the first thing I notice are MOTOTAXIS! (Eat your heart out Rubén!)

They aren’t as nice as the ones Ruben chased down in Mexico, but they are ABUNDANT!

I need gas. I cannot seem to find 90 grade (which I am told is more like our 84 grade) gas. Ultimately I ask, and yes they have it, but they dispense it out of the drum in back…I tell them I do not want any gas with  water in it as it wil be bad for the moto, they assure me they have not added water to the gas.

GAS IS EXPENSIVE HERE! It’s over $4/gallon.

But the purchase price also covers my entertainment factor. I’d read I wouldn’t get into funky gas until Bolivia.

Here’s one of my favorite shots so far…

(YES! I am a gnarly adventuress…I can conquer the WORLD!!)

So these guys are just so darned curious about me, and I am happy to chat. Soon a crowd gathers, and I am talking to half the village. It’s fun and i don;t mind answering the same questions I have answered 8192 times before.

I get some breakfast in town, then head out again hoping to make it to Pedro Ruiz tonight.

Well, hello, dirt and mud again.

Sleepy Cows.

I see some mountains,  but the terrain gets flatter and flatter and I follow the road that follows the river. Occasionally I stop and ask for directions, and every time I saw Pedro Ruiz, people say “ah, la selva” = “ah, the jungle. Hm. Jungle?

It’s flat, hot, humid, with plenty of water, and so rice seems to be the most abundant crop here. (This becomes important later).

Sorry, this bird nest was backlit, but I wanted to try to get a picture.  I saw a great many of these nests along the ride today.

Sleepy donkeys.

Ok, Amazon. Jungle.


I think this is my first one in Peru. I follow traffic and get in line.  (Tolls were free in Colombia, in Ecuador I paid 20 cents for the motorbike, I don’t know what to expect here in Peru.


I have to back up the bike, and somehow go around. This annoys me (am I starting to lose my sense of humor?) Do YOU see a sign telling you what to do? Why yell at me? Get your systems straight, or see me coming and tell me before I get into the lane. make a sign, or at least a SPACE for  me to pass with the motorbike.

Ok, I gotta stop saying I think I’ve seen everything…

Bagua Grande.

I do a few laps because I need to find an ATM. YOWTCH! The ATM will only dispense 400 soles, and they tell me AFTER my cash is dispensed that there’s a 14 sole charge. (That’s almost $5 to get $140 from the bank. I know my bank if going to charge me $2 to withdraw money,  plus a 1% fee, so I am paying like $9 to only get $140, which is almost 10% TO ACCESS MY OWN GOSH DARNED MONEY!!! ) Grr.

Dang. Construction. This is gonna slow me up and I am already worried about the late hour and making it to Pedro Ruiz before dark…

Nope, no passing for motos. They tell me it could be two hours. Ugh. But these guys are Police, they are friendly, and I take the helmet off and yak to pass the time. Nice guys. After 20 mins, they say, well, it’s only a moto. Go ahead, but carefully.

I ride 300 yards and get to stop in another line waiting for construction. So naturally I go to the front…

This policeman is NOT friendly. I nickname him Mr. Big Cop.

You have to wait.

But the other cops said I could go if I go carefully.

No. You have to get in line.


Yes, Line.

Really? Line?

Yes. 1,2,3,4, line. back there.

Oh, but if I go back there, then when we start I will die with all the dust in my face.

Go back and get back in line.

OK. (Shoot!)

backpaddle. backpaddle. backpaddle.


After about 20 minutes of waiting, engines start up, cars rock, engines rev, people line up like it’s the freaking Indy 500, except there’s no poll position so everyone is cramming in front of each other, even though they have not removed the sawhorses yet. People start beeping. Engines rev. THIS IS NUTS! But I have to move with traffic or get run over. I get into the spirit of things, weave, cut, dodge, race ahead and pass Mr. Big Cop laughing and shaking my head, in a huge cloud of dust.

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