Consistency. When you have it and it’s good there’s nothing better. But in things like golf, gambling and well.. take a guess, you never attain it. However when it comes to arriving in busy Latin American cities you can bet I always will arrive just as the sun is sinking to the west. In the case of Trujillo I maintained my consistency. Without a map, guidebook or hint of direction I used my common sense and moved toward the center of town. Hot, sticky and noisy the taxis, mini-vans and pedestrians were more than enough challenge to be frustrating.
I passed through more miles of desolate desert to get here, then appearing like an oasis, Trujillo pops up on the horizon, like all good and familiar latin american cities it proudly sports a Plaza de Armas in the center of town. But the fumes of the traffic, confusion and with my eye irritating me almost as much as the traffic and the lack of order in the city, I seem to ride in circles for an hour. It’s getting darker and I find myself in what must be a suburb. Then I spot an armed guard standing outside an opitcal/ivsion center. With the concept of a couple birds and a single stone I wander in and hope to get some sense of direction and perhaps my eye (if not my head) examined.
Less than $15 later I get a prescription for reading glasses, a complete vision test, glaucoma test and a comprehensive eye cleaning (yes, Dr. in Quito, a big black speck of something from the road was nestled under my eyelid). To turn luck even more in my favor the owner of the eye clinic owns a hotel just blocks from the Plaza de Armas. A taxi is called and I’m escorted to my hotel where I park safely in the neatly landscaped courtyard. Relief and finally a good night sleep. And man, I’m loving this peruvian food. And I can close my eyes without pain!
When I finally bid farewell to Trujillo I take an early morning departure blazing through more powerful wind, scenic sand dunes and more poverty. The wind is so strong it blows me into the other lane several times. Road crews are trying to contain the sand and sweet it to the side before the dunes take over the Panamerican Highway. One truck either flinched at high speed of a gust of wind caught it and tipped it over sprawling logs all over the side of the road.
I finally arrive in Lima and miraculously a fellow rider offers to guide me to the tony Miraflores district where I will connect with new friends. Many people warned me about taking directions or following people I don’t know through cities like Lima. But I had a good feel with this guy. So down the wrong way on one way streets, through blocked construction zones and over borrowed sidewalks and twists and turns in 40 minutes I was in the center of Miraflores– safe. There’s something about the motorcycle and the camaraderie and the community. My fear of getting lost for hours in these cities continues to be mitigated by the kindness of strangers.
Here in Lima I connect with Horizons Unlimited contact Ivan Guerrero who connects me with two Colombian riders, Diego and Andres, on a journey to Tierra del Fuego on tiny Chinese 125cc AKT motorcycles. We share appetizers and a few beers while we talk of crossing the legendary Salar de Uyuni salt flack in southwestern Bolivia. Seems these boys are going to put their bikes on a train and escape Bolivia toward San Pedro de Atacama because the small bikes don’t have the fuel capacity to make the long and bizarre ride through the Altiplano desert. I’m hoping to make the journey with Jeremiah in early January, we’ll see.
I then connect with Charo, sister-in-law of my good friend and designer of this website Michael Paff’s. She runs a catering and event business in Lima. We scout one of her upcoming events, a large outdoor wedding for several hundred people and then share a bottle of wine over an amazing home cooked traditional Peruvian dinner, followed by a stop at Starbucks (yes, there’s a Starbuck’s in Lima) and a glorious night tour of the city. I quietly must leave early in the morning hoping to make some serious distance on my trek to Cuzco via Nazca