Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014, Lima, Peru

While checking out of the hotel this morning I ask the front desk clerk about the different routes into Lima. She tells us to avoid a particular area as it is extremely dangerous. We've heard from others about this dangerous area but wonder if it's an urban legend or actually true. She says that guys will jump you from above, off bridges and rob you of anything valuable.
Our approach to Lima (population 9 million) is typical, mountains of garbage beside the highway, shanty towns with shacks made of anything that can be scrounged, high density housing amongst factories and warehouses, new American style shopping malls and then miles of grid lock on a road system that is probably 40 years out of date. From the outskirts of town it takes 2 hours to reach the BMW dealer where hopefully they have a new rear tire in stock. Eduardo meets us as soon as we drive in, we talk tires and make our way to the parts department, we are in luck, they have a Heidenau K60 in stock for $220 CAN and get it installed for under $19 CAN. This tire is a 50/50 on/off road tire and should be a good choice for Bolivia and Chile where we expect more off road riding than we've seen till now.
 Service department at BMW in Lima, Peru.
 New tire looks like it came off of a John Deere tractor.
BMW dealer in Lima, Peru (nice operation)
The bike gets wheeled into the shop and within minutes a mechanic starts removing the rear wheel.
Diana and I cross the street for a pollo sandwich and when we return the bike is getting a long overdue bath. The service here is awesome, friendly and knowledgeable staff and a great facility with an inventory of new bikes and a parts department that has stuff in stock.
Eduardo gives us some advice on what to see and where to eat along with hotels along the route to Cusco.
Another hour and we have navigated our way out of Lima and to our surprise not even a single wrong turn. Not bad considering the 9 million people and crazy traffic! On the outskirts of town we stop for a drink at a gas station and once again we're asked for permission as the locals want their pictures taken while seated on the bike, this time by a father and his early 20's daughters and son.
On Eduardo's advice we head to Paracus, a small town on the coast and next to a National Park. We cruise through town looking for accommodations and come upon a dated resort style hotel. A sign at the front desk has a rate of 260 soles ($106 CAN) and as I turn to leave the negotiation process begins. In the end we pay 100 soles ($39 CAN) and get an upgrade to a king suite and the bonus is we can park outside our door.

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