Day 75 – Lima to Ica Peru

One bright side of the hotel, It had breakfast. We went down and ordered some eggs (complementary breakfast was toast, juice and coffee/tea) and reveled in a tasty breakfast, which has been far and few between in Peru. No-one here seems to do breakfast. Whilst we were there, a woman at the next table was having trouble understanding what the waiter was saying, so I told her what he meant, and then she asked me to translate for her.

We ended up chatting, and discovered that she was a Welsh housewife in Lima because her son had fallen in love with a Peruvian woman, and wanted to ask her to marry him. Her mother insisted that his mother MUST come with him if he wanted to ask for her hand, so she flew to Lima with him (it was apparently his second visit but the first time for her and she was very much out of her element) and was very uncomfortable here. She didn’t speak any Spanish, although we think she has an excuse – she didn’t want to be here anyway – and she was pretty much stuck in the hotel until her son came to take her around with his girl. It was an interesting chat, and an unexpected viewpoint into the differences in culture. Hopefully the parents grant permission and he gets to marry the girl!

After breakfast, we ventured out of our hotel to the supermarket just down the street to get some large jugs of water and hit the ATM we’d seen there. Along we way we ended up walking through the grass instead of on the sidewalk and Dachary twisted her ankle in an unseen hole, and in the end going to the supermarket and back took at least half an hour even though we could see it from the hotel.

Back to BMW Lima around 10:30 AM, crossing our fingers that the bike would be done, but no. It was in pieces on the stand. I went up to check on it and the mechanic said he needed a spark plug. Yesterday Dachary had just handed them her spares. I figured, why hand over my spares for such a cheap part. Turns out, they didn’t have any. Not a huge vote of confidence…

The old Plug

Gutless Bikes
Naomi and Alberto’s bikes, sans engines. They both look like gutted bugs without their engines, but Alberto’s especially so. You look down and you see valves sitting there that should never be exposed.

Whip out the iPad, watch some Torchwood in their “waiting area”. Really, just a high table with squishy stools, then they start cleaning the bike. I would have rather just taken off with it dirty and saved the time but it was already in there and wet so…

We finally escaped just after 1pm, but the bikes… OMG the bikes are SO happy. They feel like brand new with their new plugs and clean filters (and carbs). I don’t know if my carb had dried oil in it like Dachary’s but it’s happy now even though it wasn’t notably off.

Drive drive drive…. there’s a magic number approaching… How close is it? Are we there yet? How much further? Almost? YES!!!! 10,000 miles baby. We’re in the middle of the Peruvian desert, 168 kilometers south of Lima and 10,000 miles from Boston. We get off the bikes and celebrate. We film a video for you. We take pictures. We don’t care in the least that it’s taking time from the schedule because we’re at 10,000 miles baby!

10,000 miles baby (Dachay)

10,000 miles baby (Kay)

10,000 miles

On we go, until we see a couple big BMW’s heading our way. We wave. They wave. We pull over. They pull over. We start chatting. Another bike pulls over. Then another. It’s a group of four guys (one pair father and son) on brand new BMW’s who look like they raided the dealership and made a break for it. They’re all wearing BMW gear, BMW tank bags, and the bikes are spotless, with a bunch of Touratech farkles. The only odd man out was a guy wearing a spotless Rallye Pro 2 suit. Maybe they ran out of 3s? Turns out, they left Venezuela about twenty days ago and they were just doing a loop around parts of South America before heading home. I think they had just one month to do it so they didn’t go all the way to Ushuaia. Also, they went to Bolivia but skipped the Salar de Uyuni. How odd.

They gave us lots of info, like telling us that the main road from the Panamerican to Cuzco is “perfecto” and “mui bonito”. They also gave us the card of a Hotel in Huacachina, which is the town just west of Ica which has these huge sand dunes surrounding an almost stereotypical oasis.

Venezuelan Adventure Riders

Venezuelan Adventure Riders (the dad)

Venezuelan Adventure Riders

More chatting, picture taking, shaking of hands, and pointing at maps, and then we went our separate ways, buoyed by the encounter.

It took a bit longer than expected to get to Ica. We had GPS coordinates from Fred for the hotel where he’d stayed the night before and as we came into town we thought we saw it on the side of the road, but decided to go with the suggestion of the biker guys in Huacachina and light faded out just before we pulled into town. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that the town’s sole purpose in life is to accommodate tourists. Not only that, it was a Saturday night. The place the guys recommended looked money. I walked in and saw that it was s./ 155 (about $60 us) and walked back out. We went to another place down the road that might have had parking. They were full, and about the same price. They suggested the place we came from (too pricey), and the place next door might have parking but noted that it was the weekend, the neighbor hotel had a huge pile of people in and had a discoteque, so even if they did have a room it was unlikely we’d actually be able to sleep. However, if we wanted to drink and dance, it would probably be a good choice.

IMG_2261

We didn’t. Dachary really didn’t want to drive in the dark since there was zero light in the sky now, so we went back to the money place. Oh, whoops. They’re full. Fuck. Turn around, ready to head back to Fred’s suggestion when we see one more that might just… Sure, s./ 60, and yeah you can bring you’re bikes in through the restaurant.

Only problem? Three steep narrow stairs up to the restaurant. Three or four long stairs out the back of the restaurant, and gravel behind that with tables we’d probably smash into.

The town was filled with college age kids, and places to drink and the idea of leaving the bikes on the main street didn’t appeal to me. However, I wasn’t fully confident I could navigate the bikes up the first set of stairs, or the stair + gravel + tables combo without fucking something up, and there was no way to fit with panniers. Debate Debate. Ponder Ponder, while Dachary’s getting annoyed. Fuck it. We’ll go back into town. Sorry Dachary, more night driving.

We do. Oh, whoops. That place we thought was the hotel wasn’t. It was a restaurant with a name that looked like “Real” when driving down the road trying not to hit things. But wait, there’s another actual hotel… Oh, hmm. No, they’re full too. Do you know the Hotel Real? “Oh yes… go this way, about a block and a half. It’s on the left. ” Hrm… No, DOn’t see it. Go farther. No. Turn around…. no… Fuck it. “Hey cabbie. Where’s the Hotel Real?” Follow the instructions, and then another cab that happens to be going in that direction. Oh THERE it is… Go in. Nope. They’re full too. Fucking A. “Who would you recommend with parking for two bikes?”

Ok… I head out to the bikes and Dachary’s chatting with another cabbie. I mention the hotel. He confirms the directions and says for s./ 4 he’ll lead us there. The directions are really clear, but I figure, it’s late, I’m sick of hunting for hotels, and there’s a decent chance that when we get there they’ll be full and we’ll need to hunt down another one. For $1.50 (US) I’ll pay for the security of finding the place and having a guy to follow to the next place which is almost guaranteed to be harder to find.

Directions were good, but I still would have driven past it. In we go. My normal questioning is thrown out the window. “Do you have a room for two people?” Yes?!?! Holy shit. “Do you have one with a two person bed?” Yes?!?! Holy crap. “How much?” Now, I ask this, not because it actually matters how much it is at this point, but just so that I’ll know how much to pay. s/. 110 Beggers can’t be choosers. “Ok.” I start to walk out to tell Dachary, then poke my head back “wireless internet?” Yes?!?!? Holy shit.

We pay the cabbie, pull in. Pay for the room. Unload, and go to the restaurant. “What’s the WiFi password?” We’ll test it with Dachary’s phone while we wait for food. Hmm, that password worked for one network, but not for the network we see in the room. Go back and double check. Yup, those are the numbers she has. It’s the typical 0123456789 password you see so often at hotels. Hard to fuck up. But no. It still doesn’t work. Hmm… poke poke… AHHh… I figure out the password to the other network, go back to the office and let them know what it is so that they can give the next guests the right info.

Turns out we can’t actually use the net from the room. We can barely see it but it just times out when we try to use it from there. So close, and yet so far.

The room is pricey, again, but the place is really well done with an old time southwestern feel and the room is sooo quiet, with a comfy bed and a big-ass ceiling fan that is actually so blowey we turn it down a notch.

We know we should write today’s post but it’s nearly 9pm and neither of us feel like it. So we celebrate the 10,000 miles by testing out the bed-springs, then relax with an episode of Torchwood and fall asleep.

I only wish someone would have let us know that Ica/Huacachina was a some sort of Peruvian tourist destination and that it should definitely be avoided on the weekends.

About Kay

An old-school geek, addicted to travel, with a love of programming, writing, Esperanto, and starting businesses. -- @masukomi on Twitter.

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