Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Hola well I´m here in Peru. And I have done a lot of driving. The terrain in Peru changed drastically from any other country. It has miles upon miles upon miles of sand dunes. I mean like hundreds of miles. And there isn't much vegetation. Peru has been a little more difficult for me. It´s not as touristy, at least where I have been, which makes finding something somewhat normal kind of tough. My first full day in Peru, I got searched by the police. And they tossed my car, more so than any other on this trip, and I have no clue what they took but surely something because it was a few of them 'searching' and another guy trying to distract me from watching. Afterwards I made it to a beach near Chiclayo and surfed my first surf in Peru on this trip. I met some guys that were asking me about my truck and they told me where some better surf was so I hit the road for a place called Pacasmayo. I was about to arrive around 430pm, excited to get there in time to surf before sunset when at the exit for PacasMayo I got stopped by police. And of course, for no reason. He starts pulling out some book and telling me I´m missing an insurance for tourists. Nobody has mentioned this at the border, the other police, etc. And surprise surprise, they can take my license and car OR I can pay right there. They wanted 450 soles which is about a couple hundred US dollars. These situations are always tricky because I could pretend not to speak spanish or I try to speak well so they treat me different than a normal tourist so I did that and it didn´t work. Sometimes I just pretend I don't understand anything but then they start writing numbers down which is universal. I argued and in the end, had to give them 50 soles (17ish us dollars) to get my license and papers back. And I missed the surf, it was late. So I started off with a rough day. The next day I got some amazing surf, long lefts reeling across this reef. I surfed it with 3 guys who were on vacation from Florida. I spent the day with them & then I hit the road again to continue south. Another day in the car heading southbound and another encounter with the Police. This time the policeman started off saying I passed in a no passing area but that was a lie. Mind you I was in the middle of miles upon miles of emptiness and sand dunes for as far as the eye can see. The road was so long and straight it appeared like there was water at the end in the distance but it was just more road. I have an attitude of I'm not paying anything this time so I stand my ground tough. The guy circles my car looking at it and starts to tell me I need permission to have my windows tinted. It's the factory tint. I just keep saying "no entiendo" (don't understand) and standing my ground. In the end I got off without paying anything but was a little flustered again. These run ins with the police along with some other travel woes made me tired and really want a break. I took a look at my frequent flyer miles and saw that I could use them to book a rountrip flight from Lima to Norfolk. So after thinking it through, I jumped on it in order to make our family vacation in the outerbanks and I was southbound in a few days to figure out what to do with my car and catch this flight. Arriving in Lima was crazy, as it is going into any foreign city with my big truck. I randomly reconnected via email with a girl I met traveling in Panama a few months back and she's now living in Lima. SO I had a destination, the plan was to stay the night at her shared house (with 10 other students from around the world) and park in a lot behind her house. It all seemed too easy because it was. The lot wouldn't let me leave my car there for 2 weeks which was a bummer because she could see the car in there from her room. So they pointed me towards another place that I showed up to and as always I'm greeted with interesting reactions over the site of my truck. They wanted to hear about it since it has California plates and they wanted my papers to be left with them so I had to fight out of that one. In the end I left it, took my paperwork, gave a little money up front and have to hope that my truck and things are there when I return today. The time away from Latin America allowed me to let some of my travels sink in and reflect on what I've done and how far I've come - distance and personally. It has been strange to be back in our culture and see how much we have at our fingertips. I have missed the Latin culture while I have been in the USA but I do love home and I always will. The south, with my family and friends, is always a place that I love and always feel comfortable here. The weather has been great and the trip was exactly what I needed; a break from the madness of traveling in a foreign nation with a car. The outer banks is still one of my favorite spots and the week we spent down there was amazing for surf and for quality time with the family. It's nice to be reminded of the southern hospitality and friendliness that comes with being here but now I'm ready to get back to my journey. Keep your fingers cross that my car is intact along with my things!