We had a good night's sleep - lots of rain as usual. Michael decided he wanted to put the half-shafts back into axle number three in view of the mountain passes ahead (not wanting to put excess strain on the front axle). So we've gone for option number three and will drive to Cusco on the front axle only, engaging axle three when we need it. I cleaned out the cab area while Michael finished working.
We decided to have lunch before we left and parked Nyathi in the square in front of the cathedral. Michael had delicious lemon trout and I had mediocre steak and we both had pancakes for dessert.
The border crossing wasn't too bad. On the Bolivian side immigration was quick, the customs guy was surprised we didn't have one of their vehicle declaration forms, but was happy with a photocopy of our vehicle registration papers. The police gave us a bit of a run around asking for all our toll receipts and then saying we had to pay 5 bolivianos for the last toll stamp. We had already asked this question before leaving Copacabana and were told it was only 2.50 bolivianos, so that's all they got!
The Peru side was efficient for both immigration and customs. The police took down our details once again and ended by asking for money. Michael said, 'thanks very much, that's very kind of you, but not necessary'. The policeman laughed and said not for us, for him. Michael asked why and he said for nothing, so Michael declined with a laugh and said goodbye.
We continued to drive alongside the lake, which made for stunning scenery. However, one of the thoughtless things we have seen a lot of in both Bolivia and now Peru, is political slogans painted all over the place, including on stunning natural scenery, which spoils it for life. It really is annoying. Here is just one example...
Just before Puno we were stopped by the police and after looking at our passports they also asked for money. I told them with a big smile that they weren't the first to ask and as we cannot give to everyone, we don't give to anyone. We stopped briefly in Puno and I wandered up to the square to get some empanadas and sponge cake, along with some fruit.
We stopped for the night at a fuel station which has big grounds and we parked as far away from the action as possible, in the lee of the wall. Their two guard dogs soon befriended us, especially as we discovered the pies and cake were both pretty dry, but made good dog food! We watched a DVD (Unfaithful) and crawled upstairs into our cosy bed.
We had muesli for breakfast and gave the remainders of our dinner to the dogs. I even cut the Ultra Mel box open so they could lick out all the custard. We paid the petrol attendants 5 Soles ($1.70) and hit the road.
The scenery has been very green and lush with snow capped peaks in the distance. The houses have become much neater, some with gardens filled with red hot pokers and other flowers. We crossed the train line a number of times and I can understand why it's a popular journey for backpackers. We also had clear skies for the most part, so Michael tied his wet overalls to the spotlight guard to dry them and it worked a treat!
We arrived in Cusco about lunchtime and began the search for a parking garage and a decent mechanic and workshop. Being a Sunday, the latter was not successful, but the tourist police told us about a good, secure garage about 200m up the road. The garage owner was a grumpy old sod, but his wife and children were all very friendly. We agreed a price of 7 soles to park for the night and sleep in the vehicle. There were two French registered campervans in the same place, so that made us feel more comfortable.
Cusco is filled with cobbled streets and lots of the new buildings have been placed on top of original Inca walls...
We met a Canadian guy (Jim Pearson) who invited us to visit his B & B in the Canadian boreal forest when we get there. We already like Cusco, it has a strong historic feel about it and is picture postcard beautiful. Here, Michael is having a break in the Plaza del Armas.
We had a pleasant wander through town and had a lovely dinner of soup, meat / trout and fruit juice.
We slept very well and were up early and off to the British consulate. The consul wasn't there, but one of his employees was very helpful and referred us to a Toyota garage which also fixes 4x4s. We wandered across town and met the garage manager (Renato) who spoke perfect English, which helped. He took us back to Nyathi via Sacsayhuaman and other interesting little side streets. We drove Nyathi back to the garage and left her there while everyone went for lunch, including us. Renato kindly drove us back into town and gave us another mini tour before depositing us in the Plaza del Armas. We had a great lunch at El Morino in Plateros St. Afterwards I went hostel searching while Michael went back to the garage to supervise.
I went into a number of options and at a really nice place with good views over the city, I met a really interesting couple who are biologists working in the rainforest on a macaw project. We stood and spoke for ages in the hotel corridor about all sorts of things and it was incredible just how similar our views on life were. I was quite excited about telling Michael about my meeting with Catherine and Geoff.
When I got back to the garage to pack a bag for the night they were still working to get the diff out. Renato, the manager, was very interested in what was going on and even got under the car a couple of times. Michael finally persuaded them to disconnect the bottom of the shock-absorber so that the axle could drop down, which allowed the diff and 6x6 unit to come out without snagging on the suspension wishbone.
Bad news - the pinion had stripped half its teeth. The sudden bump under full torque was obviously a little too much... Engaging 6x6 would have split the load and probably avoided the problem, but of course we had the rear shafts out.
Luckily, we have the complete spare differential, so it was duly dismantled and the crown-wheel and pinion set aside for reassembly. Because of the 6x6 unit mounted on the front of the differential casing, the pinion is longer than a standard pinion. Ashcroft simply made up an extension shaft which screws into the threaded end of the pinion (where the flange is usually bolted on). This shaft is then threaded to take the flange instead. The broken pinion can be seen in the picture, with its extension still fitted.
One small complication is that the spare diff's pinion takes a flange-nut, whereas the original diff takes a flange-bolt. So we can't re-use Aschroft's extension, we will have to make up another one, with a female instead of a male end. Luckily it's not a precision part, nor is it load bearing, so it should be fairly simple.
We left the workshop at about 7pm, feeling fairly confident that the problem was manageable.
When we got to Hostal Corihausi we went to Geoff and Catherine's room to introduce Michael, and discovered them in the shower, so we didn't talk for long, just agreed to meet for breakfast. We had a great dinner at Wasi Grill, accompanied for a while by a local music group, who, like all the others, play El Condor Pasa (made famous in the west by Simon and Garfunkel, but originally an Andean tune from the 18th century).
We had a great breakfast with Geoff and Catherine. We chatted for over two hours and then decided we'd meet again for dinner.
I went hostel searching and found one near the plaza with a double bed and private bathroom for S/50 (after negotiation). I went to see Michael before lunch to see if I could bring him anything, but he wasn't there. I thought he might have gone to El Morino, but he wasn't there either, so I ate on my own - delicious!
In the afternoon I wandered round town looking at the Inca walls. It is incredible how many of them are still intact and form the foundations for other, newer buildings. Then sat in the plaza watching people go by. It would have been thoroughly relaxing if it weren't for all the touts selling postcards, finger puppets, paintings, dolls, cigarettes and wanting to polish my boots which were still shiny from the cleaning yesterday! I sat and chatted to some Kiwis for a while which passed the time pleasantly and then I went to collect the laundry.
We rounded off the day with an extremely enjoyable and entertaining dinner with Geoff and Catherine. We are really sorry they are leaving tomorrow, but will definitely keep in touch.
I wasn't feeling great today - maybe it had something to do with the 400ml of chocolate flavoured milk I drank for breakfast! I sat on a bench in the plaza and made friends with a delightful little puppy who lapped up my milk offering with enthusiasm. Given the little ribs showing through his coat, it's probably one of the more nutritious things he'll eat this week!
The progress on Nyathi was slow, but very thorough and Michael is impressed with the mechanic, Ivan.
Michael got a ridiculously cheap quote at a glass shop for a new windscreen, which has now cracked from the the stone-chip it got way back in Argentina. He suspects the glass is normal window-glass, though, and we think we'll wait until we can get the correct Land-Rover one. We met for lunch during siesta time though only Michael ate. The staff at El Morino know us well now and we always get a very friendly welcome.
In the afternoon I retreated to a friendly video cafe, had a hot chocolate and watched Matchstick Men. By the time Michael got back we both felt like vegging out and stayed in and read our books.
Michael went off to the garage again. I took more washing to the laundry (Marisol now knows we are a little gold mine, despite the cheap rate of 2 sole per kg). I found out about catching local buses to Machu Picchu, instead of paying the $69 train fare and then went to the internet cafe and caught up on emails. We met for lunch again and then I spent the afternoon doing a 'city tour'. It was very interesting, but it reminds me why we don't often opt for the tour idea. The guide spoke good English, however, everything is quoted as fact when a lot of the information is surmised and he kept stressing how terrible the Spanish were, forgetting that the Incas themselves were very fierce and unforgiving conquerors too.
First we went to Q'Orikanchi, which was one of the Inca's most important temples. Many of the walls, although beautifully constructed with the trademark trapezoidal structurers, were covered in plates of gold, sadly none of this remains.
They also had some of the tools of the trade on display. These crude hammers were one the instruments they used for shaping the rocks...
The museum also contains exquisite examples of robes worn by the Spanish priests in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as paintings. Next stop was the Cathedral. It has to be one of the most ornate and gaudy churches I have seen. The paintings are particularly interesting, with a strong Cusquenan influence mingling their traditional beliefs with that of Catholicism. The carving of the pulpits and the choir stalls are incredibly intricate and most impressive.
Sacsayhuaman must have been a Herculean task to build. The sheer size of the rocks is impressive with some weighing over 120 tons and they all fit together with little or no space between them. The Incas used water pressure to split the rocks, bronze chisels to create the edges and sandy and water to polish the surfaces, all in all very labour intensive work! The purpose of Sacsayhuaman is still under debate with some believing it was a fortress, while even more believing it was a religious site. We were given free time to wander about which was nice.
The other sites we visited include Qenko where there is an impressive tablet where llama sacrifices were carried out. Tambomachay was believed to be an important religious site with complex water conduits flowing down the mountain. The water supposedly brings youth to those who bathe in it, needless to say there were loads of tourists splashing about in it!
The last site we stopped at was Pukapukara which was thought to be a resting place for travellers. Enthusiasm in our group had died at this stage and only a few of us got out of the bus to wander through the ruins! We stopped at a local artisans' shop en route back home. I wasn't all that keen on an alpaca poncho, but got up close and personal with a boy and his herd.
Michael and I went for dinner at El Procadur and were hoping to catch a movie later on, but the slow restaurant service put a stop to that idea so we went back to the hotel. I fell asleep and Michael pulled an all-nighter playing Civilization...
We spent the morning at the garage while the final assembly of the diff was done. Michael was comfortable that they could reinstall it without him being there, so I started getting ready for our trip to Machu Picchu. We caught a bus at the Urubamba terminal for S/3 (less than a dollar) each. It was absolutely packed, but luckily both Michael and I got seats. I sat next to a local teacher and we chatted about all sorts, which was good practice for me!
At Urubamba within ten minutes we caught a mini bus to Ollantaytambo for S/1 each. We arrived just after lunch and wandered down to the train station to buy tickets for the last leg to Machu Picchu pueblo (village). The tickets cost US$24 return for both of us , which is a whole lot cheaper than $138
There are some quite impressive ruins at Ollantaytambo, but instead we wandered back up the road and had a few drinks at a restaurant on the river. We met Rob and Sandra from Cork and then Rick and Mary from South Africa. We had some tasty ham and cheese omelettes and then made our way back down to the train which departed at 19h30. We sat opposite a friendly family from Chile, so I got to practice my Spanish while Michael dozed. The train travelled alongside a ferocious river, which was all the more ominous in the dark.
The train arrived at about 21h30 and we found reasonable accommodation at the first place we stopped, so we fell into bed!
We slept remarkably well and did not feel like getting up when the alarm went off just before 06h00, however, the weather looked relatively good so decided to make today our Machu Picchu day. We caught a bus which left at 07h10 and followed the road next to the furious flowing river, over a picturesque bridge and up the mountainside along a series of tight switchbacks.
We stored one of our day-packs and felt irritated that after paying US$20 for the entrance ticket, they still charge 50 centimos to use the toilet - it's not the amount, it's the principle!
We were rewarded with good weather for most of the morning and the ruins illuminated by the warmth of the sun were a spectacular sight.
We wandered around the back of the mountain away from the ruins down a forested path, along a sheer rock face. It was wonderfully peaceful. At the end of it we stared across an abyss and then noticed on the far side of the valley, high up the cliff face what was either a fault line or an old, overgrown Inca trail. When we looked to the left we saw a narrow path with a wooden bridge clinging to edge of a sheer cliff. After closer inspection we could see it was in fact an old trail all the way... We were amazed and wondered how many people died when making the path?
We were glad we'd done the path when we did because we met a dozen or so people on our way back to the ruins. It seems they use alpacas to keep the grass short, saves having to mow!
We made our way across the ruins toward Huayna Picchu, the top of which is about 400m higher up and overlooks the ruins. En route we wound our way through the various ruins and through the sacred plaza. We found ourselves amused (and somewhat irritated) by western tourists touching the sacred rocks and humming to themselves.
The climb up Huaynu Picchu was spectacular, but very exhausting. Needless to say we stopped at various points to 'take in the view' and chat to other walkers. The path was extremely narrow and steep, and near the top we had to use our hands to crawl up and down some of the stairs, plus we both got rather muddy squeezing through a tight cave above the top terraces only to discover there was a simpler route around the side! The view from the peak was breathtaking and we sat for a while on the massive granite rocks catching our breath and taking photos.
We could only begin to appreciate how tough it must have been to be the people living and farming on the top of Huaynu Pichhu. We could see the rain clouds rolling in over the surrounding mountains and decided to make as rapid a descent as possible, given my slightly shaky knees and the slipperiness of the now wet rocks.
On our way down we met a group of ladies in their 60s, including one who was using crutches to aid her walking. We were mightily impressed and both said we're that enthusiastic when we reach that age! They were also asking all the people they met what nationality they were and had counted 26 different countries including ours.
We took a leisurely stroll through the rest of the ruins and stopped briefly at what I call the water fountains. It is one of the things that impresses me about the Inca constructions is how good their drainage systems were. The ruins were very busy by lunchtime and it was funny to see the long lines of colourful rain ponchos winding through the narrow paths and then bunching together at points of interest.
We caught the bus back down to the village and spent some time wandering through the craft market. Then we ate lunch and played with the resident mischievous kitten. We played a game of chess and eventually the kitten curled up and went to sleep on my lap.
We had a nice long siesta and forced ourselves to get out of bed just before 22h00 to have an evening stroll, knowing that if we stayed in bed we wouldn't get the best night's sleep. We read our books until way after midnight and then returned to the land of nod...
We relaxed in bed and read our books. My legs were already a little achy from yesterday's walk. We had lunch at the same place as yesterday and played chess and with the kitten.
The afternoon was spent bargaining for t-shirts and other goodies at the market. We wandered along the train tracks next to the river which was still flowing incredibly fast and looked like a muddy boiling pot.
We sat and watched the late afternoon train leave and it was interesting to watch everyone loading there goods and shackles onto the train. Just after the whistle went we saw an elderly lady and her daughter and grandchild hurtling down to the train, weighed down by the rainbow-coloured cloth bundles attached to their backs. They wouldn't let them on the train and we saw the young girl gasping for breath from her run and then crying. We felt so sorry for them. I didn't know whether to go and give them money for a place to stay overnight, but worried they might feel offended.
We bumped into Erin & Tracy (having hot chocolate again) and we chatted for a while until Matt and Kirsty arrived and suggested we meet up for drinks a bit later. We read some more of our books and met the others at Blues Cafe at about 20h30. We had a great evening chatting and having a few drinks.
Up early and on the train by 05h35. The train left promptly at 05h45 only to stop about ten metres down the platform (well at least they can say on their statistics it was a punctual departure). From Ollantaytambo to Cusco we caught two buses with Erin and Tracy. On the second bus we were all bouncing about in the back row, along with all our packs. Then a grumpy old lady wanted to squeeze in next to us (I can't blame her, we were using five seats instead of just four, but she was a crabby old thing and never bothered to say please, nor thank you). I let her sit next to the window, I sat next to her and then Michael still had his legs in the corridor, giving a bit more breathing space. I sat for the rest of the journey with my head facing the others to avoid the rather strong odour of grumpy old lady!
We were in Cusco by 09h15, which was much earlier than we expected. I stepped in an enormous wet, stinky dog poo on the way down to Toyota Corasur, much to Michael's amusement. He wasn't very keen to walk on the same side of the road as me. However, he used the pressure washer at Corasur to give my boot a good clean, so I can't complain.
Despite good progress, the job on Nyathi wasn't quite ready and Ivan told Michael he had found someone to fabricate another freewheeling hub for us for axle #3, so we decided it was worth staying the night to get that done. We found our cheapest accommodation yet at S/24 ($7) for both of us. The room was very sparse, but nobody else was using our 'shared bathroom', which was right outside our door, so it was good value!
We had lunch at our old favourite El Morino, and then Michael went back to Corasur, while I tried to find a bookshop interested in swapping our two Inca books and to download email (neither with any success). We met Erin and Tracy at Mama Africa for drinks. It turned into a very enjoyable, though rather late night after much drinking, eating and dancing.
Feeling a bit slow and sleepy, we forced ourselves out of bed early to get to Corasur. We returned the pair of socks to the laundry which didn't belong to us (I wander how often that happens :-) Everything was all sorted and ready at the garage. We paid our bill, which was pleasantly less than we had anticipated considering the time and effort spent on the job. We said our goodbyes and headed off toward Nazca.
The vehicle felt pretty good at first, except for the fuel starvation problem. However, after a while, Michael heard a slight drone which he thinks is from too much backlash in the diff. He thinks we are going to have to take it out again and adjust it in Lima, because we'd rather avoid breaking the crown wheel and pinion a second time.
The more immediate problem was the need to stop and blow out the fuel line every hour or so. As a result, we didn't make as much progress as we would have liked, but that's life. At least the road was really good and the scenery beautiful, including some Inca ruins...
We drove through Abancay where they were having a carnival. Tradition on carnival day is lots of water bombing and we saw lots of local people drenched and Nyathi came under fire once, so we rapidly closed our windows!
We found a secluded spot below the sight line of the road, next to a river and set up camp for the night. The rain started shortly after we stopped so I made us a cold dinner of taco shells filled with tuna, avocado and sweetcorn.
We were up early before giving anyone the chance to spot us. Despite being on the go from about 07h00 until 18h00 we only covered about 250km. We had almost 6 hours of stoppage time, trying to sort the fuel problem out. We drained the fuel tank to see if anything was blocking the pipes and to look at how dirty the diesel was. There were a few tiny bits of dirt and mud which could easily block the fuel-pump valves. Eventually Michael spent an hour or so re-routing the fuel lines so that the filter is before instead of after the pump. Finally the problem was solved! For the rest of the day we travelled at speed with no faltering. When we get to Lima we will revert to the original fuel routing, but put in an extra filter near the tank.
The scenery changed from more jungle-type covered mountains to more stark mountains at higher altitude. The valleys were dotted with farmsteads and loads of alpacas and llamas grazing.
One of the times we stopped en route, we could see snow falling on the mountains nearby and two flamingos in a nearby lake - not sights we had expected! We reached a high of over 4500m during the day, but thankfully camped lower than that.
We drove up a little dirt mountain road and asked at the first house if we could spend the night nearby. Blenny (the older daughter of the household) said it was no problem to pull off the road near their house and stay the night. They left us to our own devices and retreated into their stone house, lit by candle flame, with the smoke from their kitchen fire filtering through the loose tile roof.
I made us a quick dinner of soya chilli and rice and we sat and ate in the cab. Then we washed up and closed up for the night and climbed into bed and read.
We made good progress today. Nyathi performed well and it seems Michael has sorted the fuel problem. We said our goodbyes to Blenny and her family and left her with a box of goodies. The road continued up through the mountains changing from lush and green to stark and dry. We drove through a vicuna nature reserve, it was nice to get to see so many of them up close. Vicuna are the wild relatives of llamas, alpacas and guanaco (the latter also being wild).
We stopped in Nazca to put in fuel and I went to find out about what breakfast options there were in the nice little cafe. Sadly, only meat and rice, which wasn't what we felt like for breakfast.
About 20km further on we stopped and climbed a hill overlooking the desert near the Nazca lines to see if we could see them. There are a number of different designs etched into the desert sand including a humming bird, hands, a tree, a monkey and a condor with a wingspan of 100m! We couldn't see anything from our hilltop view, except some of the straight lines which may not have been from the Nazca civilizations anyway. We stopped a little further on at a viewing tower which was erected by Dr Maria Deiche, a German woman who studied the lines for over 40 years. It was right next to the hands and tree etchings and we had a good view. They were quite impressive, although we both cannot understand how the lines can have lasted this long and not been eroded or covered by shifting sands. There is also no definitive theory as to their purpose.
We stopped at a little bodega (wine shop) on the road north of Ica to buy some local wine. It was all very sweet, but we settled on a red wine and a bottle of pisco (local drink made from grape, with egg - tastes like margharita to us). We said we'd also like to get some grapes so they took us into the back yard where we saw their vines, tasted the grapes and saw them being crushed in preparation for wine making. They were very friendly and pleased that we were interested in what happens behind the scenes (including their sideline of bird sales with an aviary of at least fifty budgies of the most beautiful colours).
It was incredibly hot and we couldn't believe there was so much 'real sand desert' so soon after the mountains. It was beautiful to see the rolling sand dunes disappear into the sea. In a lot of places the sea crashes into the bottom of the cliff 40 metres below.
At about 17h00 we were 50km or so before Lima, so we decided to find a place to camp at San Bartolo. It is a nice little town with a lovely beach and a relaxed atmosphere. We discovered that at the southern end of this bay is where the rich folk live in a beautiful and pristine private resort with magnificent houses and the cars to match! We had a simple, but very tasty dinner washed down with some welcome cold drinks. We ended up spending the night sleeping in Nyathi, parked next to the home of some very friendly people we had met earlier in Santa Rosa. It was great falling asleep to the waves crash onto the beach.
We were up early and on the road by 06h45. The traffic in Lima was busy, but we managed to contact Marco in Cusco and get the address of the Toyota dealer. After some lucky navigation we were at their offices by 09h00. The guy from the sales office was helpful, but the servicing rep was absolutely pathetic. So, we made our way over to the Land Rover dealer. They had a good workshop and as it turns out they know their stuff.
90 minutes later the diff and 6x6 unit were out on the bench. On measuring we discovered there was a fraction too much backlash, but also the bearing pre-load was insufficient. As they had no shims in stock and we didn't have the correct combination of shims, the diff was only reassembled late in the evening. The team were more than happy to get the job done still, but at that point we tested the pinion / crown-wheel engagement pattern and found we needed more shims to adjust the pinion height. So we knew then that it could only be reassembled on Monday.
We had a delicious chifa (Chinese) lunch with Sergio (the the manager for servicing for Land Rover and BMW) and his colleague Wendy. They both speak good English and I discovered that Wendy's mum is from Edinburgh!
Sergio invited us to join he and his wife Maria and Wendy and her husband Hugo for dinner and then he kindly took us to a hotel and came back to collect us a little later. We went to an upmarket shopping and entertainment complex called Arcomar. Maria was so easy to talk to and we had a really enjoyable evening. We had a delicious dinner at Mangos and then had great ice-cream at Laritza's. We were 'chauffeured' back to the hotel and collapsed into bed.
We had a wonderful lazy start to the day. We had a tasty breakfast and then went to look for a cheaper hotel. We struck it lucky. We saw a lovely looking hotel in Miraflores in a very vibrant part of town, but a fairly quiet street and decided to go in and see how busy they were. Fortunately we were able to negotiate from $60 for two nights down to $45. The rooms were clean and bright, well serviced and with cable TV (time for a bit of veggig out).
We had a bit of a wander, went back to collect laundry from Nyathi and then settled in to the hotel. We got take-away pizza for the dinner and sat and watched movies and caught up on what is happening in the world!
We went with Sergio's family and friends to the beach for the day. It was terrific. They came to collect us and we squeezed into the car with their daughters Soleil, Soundra and Stella. We met up with their friends Carla and Julises and all headed for the beach. There were lots of people and it's been a while since Michael has seen so many girls in bikinis! We were quite impressed with the service of cold beers and delicious-looking platters of food brought to beachgoers by local entrepreneurs.
Sergio and Maria provided us with ice cold drinks and a lovely picnic lunch. We and the two girls played on Julises' surfboard in the sea. (Michael thinks he's never looked so cool before ;-) On the way back home we stopped in at Laritza's and treated everyone to a delicious ice-cream. Then we went with the girls to a games arcade and watched them doing those video dance games (like they had in BsAs).
After a full and very enjoyable day Michael and I spent a lazy evening in with take-aways and cable TV.
I spent a relaxing morning at the hotel doing a bit of diary and a lot of TV watching, while Michael went to the garage to see how things were going and to give Nyathi a general service, including adjusting the tappets.
We went for lunch to Sergio and Maria's house. Their home is lovely and we had a delicious meal of grilled fish with creamed spinach, broccoli and rice, followed by homemade sorbet.
I spent the afternoon having my haircut and then scrubbing the grease out of Michael's clothes. With Sergio's help, Michael acquired a new fuel filter. He fitted it in addition to the one that is already in place (but prior to the fuel pump) and rerouted the pipes again.
In the evening I got Chinese take-aways and we watched TV again.
Michael went off to the garage while I packed up the room and paid the bill. I went to the sale at Ripley (a great departmental store) and wandered about looking at all the clothes. I was very restrained and bought two sarongs.
When I got to the garage Michael was busy packing away. We took Sergio and Wendy out for lunch at the chifa. When we got back Michael and Sergio took Nyathi for a test drive and it all went well. At last, we said our farewells and headed for Metro to do some shopping before leaving the 'big city'.
As we were packing our groceries into Nyathi a guy approached Michael and said he had just been on the phone to his friend who has a TV show and that she very much wanted to come and film us. We told him we were leaving Lima so we wouldn't be able to, but then shortly afterwards we began thinking it might be good coverage for the local Land Rover garage and Michael went racing off after the guy to say yes. We agreed to meet them at Inchcape Land Rover in half an hour.
Valerie, the anchor woman was very enthusiastic and she and the crew spent about an hour and a half interviewing us. The cameraman clambered up into the 'bedroom' with me and they filmed Michael at work on the computer, our 'guestbook', all sorts! Well, we hope that Land Rover gets some business from it, as they have been very good to us.
So, we went back to our hotel for yet another night of take-away Chinese food and TV. Sounds dull, but is very much a novelty for us happy campers!
We left Lima at about 10h00 feeling a bit sad to leave our new friends behind. Still, we are bound to meet again either here or at home in Nottingham. We drove all day with just a few stops to check that everything was going well. We had an argument about a new clunking noise and whether we should stop and investigate it straight away. We're both pretty hopeless at staying angry with each other, but we gave it a go for an hour or two!
It turns out the most likely cause of the noise was the top of the spring not being seated correctly when they reattached the shock absorber. An almighty clunk from the spring later in the day gave us a fright, but since then the noise has gone.
We drove around the beach town of Las Poncianas looking for a suitable place to park / stay. A friendly lady (Charo) in a car with her friends and family, stopped and asked if we just needed a place to park. They told us to follow them and we drove along a narrow road toward the end of the bay. She led us to her house which was on the beach and had parking up above it. She told us to go out through her pedestrian gate and take a walk along the beach and that they would be back after mass.
We sat on the pebble beach in front of her house and ate watermelon while we watched massive pelicans skim above the water and boobies dive for fish! When they returned she kindly invited us in to see her home and we chatted for a while. She invited us to stay for a bite to eat, but we said it really wasn't necessary and that when they were finished they could all come up and have a closer look at Nyathi. They were intrigued and had a look at her inside and out. Charo kindly offered for us to have a shower in the morning if we'd like. It is wonderful to experience such warm hospitality and makes our travelling really interesting and rewarding!
Another travelling day today. We left Charo's house just after 08h00 and continued to drive through dry desert scrub dissected by lush green valleys with all sorts of fruit and crops. The irrigation channels in use are very effective and the area we drove through today is the main rice growing region in Peru.
We decided that due to time pressures we couldn't visit both Sipan and Tucume archaeological sites and the Brunig Museum in Lambayeque, so we opted to see the huge pyramid complex at Tucume and to visit the museum which houses the treasure from the Sipan funeral chambers. What a disappointment! Tucume was a waste of time. The signs as we entered the town looked professional, but directed you across a disused field scattered with rubbish, so we took the next road about 20 metres along which looked more promising, only to be told we couldn't get through and had to go to the next one (a one-way the wrong direction). We drove up to the base of an old pyramid, which looked more like a massive anthill with eroded walls. I walked further around to look for the viewing point and evidence of the other pyramids, walls and complexes. The surrounding area was littered with rubbish and dirty disposable nappies lay scattered about. I climbed up one of the ridges to look for the other pyramids, walls and complexes, but could not see anything significant. When I got back to Nyathi there was a group of youngsters with Michael who were becoming annoying, trying to climb on the vehicle and being cheeky, mocking our accents and when I spoke to them in Spanish asking if there was a problem they showed no sign of embarrassment. Feeling irritated and not inclined to waste more time looking for other pyramids we left.
We stopped off in Lambayeque to go to the museum, but we would only have had 30 minutes to walk around we chose not to go there either. We drove until just after sunset and found a nice secluded spot behind some sand dunes to camp. The wind was still pretty strong so trying to cook on he gas would have been more hassle than it was worth, so we had a cold, but welcome dinner of baked beans, vienna sausages, cheese and bread.