29th, Panama City, Panamá, Stop: January 14th, Piura, Peru Distance: 1966
km, Total Distance: 34070 km [Map]
We finally entered South America in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
We made it through the customs and had a new continent ahead of us. A
stumble on the road shocked and rocked us a little, but then the adventure
took over again. New Years Eve in Quito, market in Otavalo, high mountains
and wonderful nature was waiting.
To Carnet or not to Carnet
The flat coastal plains north east of Guayaquil, where houses were
built on stilts.
The flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador lasted only a couple of hours. Outside
the airport it was hot and humid and a million grasshoppers flew and crawled
everywhere. It was the summer, they said, and we tried in vain to ignore
their random movements, even when they landed in our hair. A short and
expensive taxi ride brought us to a little hostel with matching prices.
It was close to the airport, and since it was late in the night, we took
it. Next morning we left on foot in search for the Panalpina office. When
we found it we had walked a few kilometers and followed random directions
given by people who either didn't know and didn't care, didn't know but
believed they did or, more likely, didn't know but wouldn't admit it,
something we were getting more and more used to.
Inside the office the few staff people present seemed confused and tired.
It was Friday, December 29th, and the last day anything was open
before the New Year holiday. Our hopes of getting the bike out
of customs had been low, and when we heard that both our contacts
were off that day because of a company party the previous night-
which also explained why everyone was so tired and unfocused -
our hopes reached rock bottom. A young man with sore, red eyes
came to our assistance and started the paperwork. The bike had
arrived as scheduled and was kept in the customs warehouse a few
blocks away. He asked for an additional forty dollar fee for the
handling, and I went through the roof, just as I had done in Panama.
We had repeatedly asked our Panalpina contact in Panama to give
us the total price, everything included, and he had repeatedly
assured us that no additional costs except the customs fee would
show up mysteriously in Guayaquil. I demanded they called him
and sorted it out between themselves. The young man did, but quickly
put his hand to his forehead, sighed and handed the phone over
to me. I asked for an explanation, and from the other end of the
line I heard one of the most hopeless excuses I could remember.
According to the agent in Panama, the reason for not telling us
about the additional handling fee, was that he didn't know exactly
how much it was. If he had told us, he continued, we wouldn't
be satisfied until we got the right answer. Bloody well we wouldn't,
but why didn't he make a phone call to Guayaquil?
Instead of answering the question he began listing up how much
other companies charged for the same service and how little they
made on motorcycle freight. I cut him off mid sentence, realizing
there was no way I could get through, said good-bye and slammed
the phone down. The staff had overheard everything and quickly
lowered the price. Furthermore, they sent a guy off to get the
papers they needed in a hurry, and when they arrived, sent us
off with a guide to find the local customs chief.
It was eleven o'clock, and the customs warehouse would close one hour
later. When we arrived and saw hundreds of people waiting in lines
in front of the offices, we simply shrugged and accepted the situation.
But our Panalpina guide took us straight through the lines and
around a corner to a door with a sign saying "Authorized
personnel only". After a knock and a presentation, we were
greeted by the boss, who smiled, offered us chairs and listened
patiently to Bente's plea for a quick procedure in the closing
Then he went away with our papers and we stared at the wall.
After a few minutes he came back out, handed the papers over to
two chatting fellows in a corner, who asked me to come over and
sign them. They stamped the documents and gave them back to the
boss, who went away for another ten minutes. We looked at the
watch, eleven thirty, then at each other forming the silent question,
"When will they ask for the Carnet?".
The door slammed open and the boss exited again, asking us to follow
him to the warehouse. Our hearts made a simultaneous jump, and I asked
as casual as I could if everything was ready. Yes, he said, we had a transit
permit for five days. We totally ignored the short amount of time we got,
glanced at each other and smiled happily. The Carnet issue had obviously
gone passed the Guayaquil customs. Inside the warehouse Rocinante was
resting on a pallet, totally unscathed from the flight. We started unwrapping
it, seeing that the clock was ticking away towards noon, closing time.
Finally, seventeen minutes past twelve, the paper work was done, the
gate was opened and we drove out into the sunlight. Every customs officer,
warehouse worker and guard smiled and waved us good-bye, and when outside
on the street, we shouted a loud JIIIHAAAA!, swerving from side to side
of joy. We had cleared the bike in less than one and a half hours, hadn't
needed neither the Carnet or any of the supporting documents we had prepared,
something which had to be some kind of record. South America, here we
Chimborazo, 6310 meter above sea level, seen from the pass.
Climbing the Andes Mountains
It was too late to get a decent mileage done that day, so we stayed in
town one more night. It gave us the time we needed to find a workshop
where we heated up and straightened the by now bent side stand. The left
mirror had corroded and broke off in Panama when trying to unscrew it,
but would have to stay in the luggage for a few more days. That night
we found a Internet café and later went to see the new version
of Charlie's Angels, for no other reason than that it was the only un-dubbed
movie they showed. After the movie was over we were sorry we hadn't had
a few drinks up front, since it would have improved it a lot.
We left early the next morning, hoping to reach Quito or even Otavalo
in one long day. First the road led us through a very flat coastal
region, where people built their houses on stilts to avoid water
entering in wet seasons, then suddenly the Andes began. We climbed
straight into a thick fog, then further into the mountains. My
new altimeter was getting a nuisance to Bente, who had to listen
to my reports for every hundred meters we ascended. When it showed
2500 meters, Rocinante seemed to loose power. I was sure it had
to do with the air filter being clogged combined with the altitude,
since we had been over four thousand meters before without any
noticeable power loss.
At a gas station I switched the air intake from the left to the
right side which should increase the air flow for a while. It
didn't improve things though, and now we were steadily climbing
along the highest paved road in Ecuador. At the pass, 4300 meters
above sea level, the engine was slower than ever. To our right,
the majestic snow capped cone of Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest
mountain, 6310 meters above the sea, loomed in the sunshine. It
was beautiful. Along the road we came upon twenty to thirty road
blocks set up by the indigenous people, who asked for money or
presents. The road blocks consisted of trees, stones, ropes or
whatever else they had handy, and we soon ran out of pocket money.
Going downhill from the pass we followed a bus who blasted through
every block, throwing stones and wood far into the ditches, landing
dangerously close to the Indians. But it got us through.
Stumbling along the Pan American, literally spoken
We were in the Central Valley and in Ambato we met the Pan American Highway
for the first time in South America. The going was good and the road blocks
had ended, so we felt sure we would reach if not Otavalo, then at least
Quito before sunset. How wrong we were.
We are riding through Lasso, a small village some eighty kilometers
from the capital. Both are tired after a long day with high altitude changes.
It's raining and the road is slick. My concentration must be lower than
normal. We are closing in on a railroad that crosses the road in a sharp
angle. I am not reducing the speed. I don't see the seven, eight centimeter
step on the closest rain-slick rail. Bente sees it coming and thinks to
herself how strange it is that I don't slow down or move a little to either
side, where there's no edge to worry about. But it's too late to warn
me. We hit it doing about eighty kilometers per hour.
The front wheel is thrown to the right. The bike goes down hard. Bente
is thrown off the bike and lands on her left hip. She slides about twenty
meters into the opposite direction. Luckily there's a break in the heavy
traffic. I land hard on my back next to the bike. My head slams into the
pavement. The helmet cracks. Rocinante slides over to the other rail,
which stops her hard on the handle bar and aluminum pannier. Then everything
is quiet. I am very confused. I try to get up, but a terrible headache
stops me and I lay down again. Bente watches from a distance. Although
she is fine, she thinks the worst about me. We look at each other. She
confirms that all is OK. It prompts me to say the same. It comes out blurry
and I'm not sure about the truth in it. I'm not sure about anything, except
that there's an alarm sounding next to my ear. Somehow I crawl over to
the bike and turn off the ignition. The sound stops. I try to get up again,
but the pain is too much. Bente is by my side and helps me crawl over
to the side of the road. There's several people around us. They are shouting
and stopping the traffic. Some lift up the bike and push it over to us.
Slowly a haze moves away from my eyes and I start realizing what have
happened. Bente talks to me all the time, asking for my name, where I
am, why I am here and so on. My answers are slow but satisfactory. Her
hip hurts, she says, but otherwise she's fine.
I get up, take off my helmet and walk two steps into a little shed
to get away from the rain. I stumble on the way in and dive head on, slamming
my forehead into the concrete floor. Bente hears my scream of pain and
frustration. I feel so stupid, and am more confused than ever. Dreams
flow around in my head. It's impossible to think straight for more than
a few seconds before I loose the chain of thought.
After a long time my head cleared and we got up and out of our little
refuge and took the bike in closer view. The left aluminum pannier was
lying on the ground, totally torn open with the bottom hanging out. It
would need serious surgery before being useful again. The left handlebar
was bent down towards the tank. The rear left turn signal was broken to
pieces when the aluminum pannier was compressed out of shape. But otherwise
the crash bars took the hit and not even a scratch of paint had left the
bike. Not that the damage worried either of us at the moment. We held
each other tight and couldn't believe the luck we'd just had. If the traffic
had been as it was a few minutes earlier, things could have turned out
a lot more serious. I could hardly think about it.
The new Mexican president were among the many victims in the New
Year Eve paper doll exhibits on Avenida Amazonas in Quito.
We strapped the left pannier in place the best we could and somehow got
to the nearest hotel, a forty dollar guest house. I was in no condition
to keep on driving, so we shrugged at the price and accepted the room.
When we had unpacked we stayed in the room for a couple of hours, holding
each other and keeping my condition under strict surveillance. I was alternating
between attacks of headaches and nausea, and when we tried to eat dinner
later in the night, I could only push myself to eat parts of it. That
night I went through the accident time after time, blaming myself for
putting a life that meant so much to me at stake. If I had only been concentrating
the way I should. If the traffic had been of the same intensity as a few
minutes earlier, and so on. Finally it drifted away and I fell asleep.
Bente stayed awake for a long time, keeping an eye on her husband who
was breathing laboriously and moaning in his sleep from time to time.
The next morning I felt a lot better. My head was still hurting but with
a lot less intensity. The muscles in my neck, throat and stomach was hurting
like I had done a few thousand sit-ups the day before, probably because
I had instinctually used them with all the might I had when I realized
the back of my head would hit the pavement. My left knee was also hurting
from twisting it in the fall. But all in all I felt reasonably fine and
ready to ride to Quito. Bente, however, was feeling physically fine but
mentally very low. The whole morning she was on the verge of crying and
felt totally apathetic and indifferent to everything. It was probably
a delayed reaction, pushed ahead because she used all her energy and concentration
taking care of me the night before. She admitted that she had worried
a lot more about me than she said. Now that she saw that I had improved,
a nervous reaction came. I comforted her the best I could, assuring her
that it was all right to react like she did, and as we prepared to go,
she felt slightly better.
Before leaving I needed to straighten out the handlebar. The hotel was
obviously in a low season, because before long I had seven uniformed helpers,
consisting of cooks, receptionists, bell boys and waiters. They came out
with a three meter long metal tube which we slid onto the handle bar.
The seven helpers raised the tube until I said stop. Then two of them
took away the bent-out-of-shape aluminum pannier, and when they brought
it back, they had hammered it into a shape resembling squared. We thanked
them profoundly and when we left, the whole staff was out front waving
Good-bye, year 2000, welcome 2001
We arrived in Quito early on New Year's Eve. It was my second visit to
the city and with the accident the day before, we knew the celebration
would be excellent. Not that we would dive into the bars and drink
like mad, my head was not ready for that, but we were very happy
and more caring for each other than in a long time. The night
before, when arriving at the hotel in Lasso, a man had asked us
about the bike, the accident and our travels and then had told
us he ran a hostel in Quito. We liked the man and headed for his
place. He was still out of town on a guided tour around Ecuador,
but his wife welcomed us to Hostal Casa Grande and gave us a good
value room for the next few nights. We immediately headed for
an Internet café and sent e-mails to Lars and Tini and
to Jens, saying we were in town looking for company. Lars and
Tini came back a few hours later and in the evening we met them
at The Magic Bean, a combined hostel and restaurant in "Gringolandia",
as Jens later called the area of town where most of the hostels
and Internet cafés are.
Lars and Tini had received their Carnet a few days before and
had finally gotten their bike released from customs. A couple
of friends had come over from Germany to visit them and soon they
would be on their way south towards Peru. As we caught up with
our separate adventures and misadventures, Jens and Christiane,
his girlfriend visiting from Germany, walked in. We greeted each
other warmly and another round of catching up started. Jens looked
at my forehead where two big crusts told about my meeting with
the concrete the day before. I said we had an accident, something
that prompted him to ask if I wasn't normally using a helmet when
riding. A long story, I said and told the by now rather funny
tale about my concrete dive. Never take off your helmet until
you are absolutely sure you're safe.
From left to right; Jens, his girlfriend Christiane, Tini, Lars
and Bente, all bent over the South American map discussing routes
down this enormous continent. We're in "Gringolandia",
Later in the night we all went our separate ways. Jens and Christiane
had arrangements with some friends and so had Lars and Tini. We
strolled the Avenida Amazonas, packed with people and entertainment.
Along the whole avenue people had made paper dolls to look like
the country's top politicians. Ironic slogans joked with the recent
dollarization in the country. Last year Ecuador's economy were
pointing straight down into the ditch, a situation which had prompted
the indigenous people to protest heavily. This led to a change
of government, but also later to a continuation of the old Government's
politics. The sucre was pegged to the dollar and later dropped
Today only the dollar reigned, and it was difficult to understand
how a country would give up control of their own economy like
that. The dolls were to be burned later in the night , so we had
a couple of beers while waiting for the old year to die and the
new to arrive. Strangely enough, people started leaving the streets
around eleven o'clock, and by twelve there were only the hard-liners
left. We kissed each other and wished for an accident-free New
Year. By now the dolls were burning and firework was going off.
Maybe that was the reason why people had left, because the fireworks
went off in every direction.
We talked for a while with a group of locals in their early twenties,
but decided to head home when one of them was hit in the arm and
got a decent burn. I was feeling strange. If you have ever seen
a movie where the hero goes through the most arduous of times,
being shot at and almost dying several times, and then enters
a town with a huge festival going on, like a typical Indiana Jones
or something, then you get the picture of how I was feeling that
night, limping along in the fiesta streets of Quito with a headache,
sore muscles and a scar or two to prove what I had been through.
What a hero I was.....
Permits and bike shops
On the first day in the new year we debated what to do next. If we were
to comply with the five day permit, we had to leave Ecuador within
three days. Since we had had the accident, we decided it was worth
spending the next morning getting in touch with the customs authorities
in Quito, to ask them for a longer stay. We definitely had some
work to do on the bike; putting the final touch on the handlebar,
fixing the aluminum pannier and finding out why it was running
poorly. For dinner that night we had chosen Paella Valenciana,
a rather expensive Spanish restaurant serving the famous dish
by the same name.
When we got there I felt lousy with nausea coming in waves, head
spinning, my hands cold and sweaty. I hardly got any food down,
and right after dinner we left for the hotel again. It was hard
to say what was wrong with me, but the altitude and another day
of drinking too little water, combined with the recent accident,
was our own diagnose. I also felt some kind of anxiety building
up inside, which was kind of strange, since I had felt reasonably
fine and ready to ride again the day before.
In the morning I felt better and we went in search for the customs. We
found them on Avenida 10 Agosto and got through to the boss. When he saw
the permit stamped in our passport, he commented that it had no exit date.
We jumped and kept quiet about the five days we had been told in Guayaquil.
What it meant, he said, was that we basically could stay a week or two
without getting into trouble. When we left the office we laughed and amazed
at how lucky we had been that day in Guayaquil. Now we could slow things
down a bit, fix the bike and then go to Otavalo.
Our hotel host had returned from his guided trip when we got back to
the hostel, and was all over us trying to help us with possible
solutions for the bike and the pannier. A neighbor car workshop
got the pannier and promised to have it ready and fixed by the
next morning. Then I was off to find a motorcycle dealer, and
after a couple of visits I stumbled upon Racing Parts close to
the airport. These guys were good, and they knew several of the
people we had been in contact with, people who were going south
as we were.
Together we took out the spark plugs and checked everything.
The plugs were all white, so we replaced them. The mechanics believed
the poor Ecuadorian gasoline to be the main reason for the lack
in performance. The day before we had cleaned and oiled the air
filter, to no avail, so the options were few. A bottle of octane
booster and injection cleaner was recommended as additive to the
gasoline. Then the mirror was fixed with a new bolt and the handlebar
straightened out to the correct angle.
That night we met up with Jens, Christane, Lars and Tini again, spreading
a big South American map on the table between us, and for the next hours
we shared ideas for routes down the continent. After a pleasant evening
we went home and packed for a short ride to Otavalo.
The center of Indian markets
The colorful market in Otavalo.
Rocinante was running better in the morning, although not perfect. But
what I later noticed was that she had gone from consuming 8 liters
to 5 liters per 100km, just by replacing the spark plugs and adding
the octane booster. It was like a miracle and almost too good
to be through. The hundred kilometers ride to Otavalo went through
nice mountains and I was looking forward to revisit this market
town. It had had a warm place in my heart for many years for several
Eight years earlier I spent a month in Ecuador and managed to
visit three Saturday markets in Otavalo. Seven years before that
my eldest brother, Eivind, spent almost the same time here. He
was the one who pushed me into travelling in the first place,
having done several longer trips himself, trips he often wrote
about for the newspapers he worked for as a journalist back home.
In Otavalo, I felt I was merging my two bigger trips together,
this motorcycle journey meeting the sailing/backpacker adventure
Eivind and I experienced eight years ago. When we left the sail
ship which had brought us from Norway to Venezuela, we travelled
to Colombia together before separating, him going north and me
south. Eivind died the year after we returned from the trip, and
I will always remember him like I was picturing him now in Otavalo,
casually dressed like a backpacker with a cigarette hanging from
the corner of his mouth and a heavy camera bag over his shoulders.
Last time I was here, I was traveling with Einar, an old friend from
Norway. We hang out and drank terrible Caña liquor at the local
Peñas, leaving us hangover for days. When we rode into town this
time, I had four things I wanted to find; Plaza de Ponchos - which should
be easy, the hotel we stayed at - more difficult, the Hard Rock Café
Otavalo - not a part of the official Hard Rock chain, and the Peña
bar were we tried to drown ourselves in the local brews. The plaza was
easy to find, and the market was almost as active as it was when I was
there last, and it was only Thursday. We drove around the square to find
that the Hard Rock Café was closed - someone told us later that
they had been in a name conflict of sorts, and the Peña had changed
owners. Next was the hotel, which I remembered was a few blocks to the
south from the plaza, but after a couple of tries we gave up. We looked
up one of the recommended hotels in our newly bought South American Handbook,
Hotel Riviera Sucre, and drove straight to it. I couldn't believe my eyes
when I realized it was indeed the same cosy place I had stayed at last
We settled in for four days, and strolled the market later in the evening.
It was a couple of days before the hoards of vendors would move in for
the Saturday market, but even so it was huge and had an even bigger selection
than I remembered. We ended up with each our alpaca wool sweater, which
would replace the fleece jackets we had carried along for seven months,
if not for any other reason so for the fact that we needed a change. Then
Saturday came and we bought a rug and a poncho, both of which would be
sent home with the fleece wear. During the stay in Otavalo, I had waves
of anxiety coming over me, which was hard to explain. I tried to push
it aside and normally managed to do so for a few hours before it returned.
We put it down to a late reaction to the accident and tried our best to
ignore it. A Sunday ride into the surrounding mountains proved that Bente
also needed a little more time to be comfortable on the bike again, and
I promised I would take it very easy for a while.
Volcan Tungurahua, still smoking.
When we left Otavalo, we left the northernmost point of our South American
journey. The Pan American led us back to Quito, and for the second
time we managed to pass the Equator Monument without seeing it.
We rode straight through Quito and into the old city, a place
we both wanted to see before leaving it behind. We drove through
narrow streets to the plaza, lunched in a little alley, and then
left the city. In the outskirts we came upon a student demonstration
with burning tyres blocking the road. A little opening had been
made by the numerous police present, and we were let through without
The Pan American south of Quito was at least four lanes wide,
but had no lines to separate the lanes. Hence the traffic moved
freely and liberal, and sometimes three or four vehicles came
towards us side by side, pushing us out on the edge of the road.
The going was good and in the evening we arrived in Baños,
a tourist town on the foot of the Tungurahua volcano. A little
over a year ago, this active volcano had come to life and threatened
the existence of the 16000 people living here. The army moved
in and evacuated the town, and its people had to stay in neighboring
cities. But after three months, the villagers had had enough and
fought their way back. To avoid the army making a frontal attack
on them, they sent their women and children first, and slowly
the town was repopulated. In the beginning they had no medical
services or police, since the government announced that anyone
who went back into the high risk zone was denied official aid.
Baños' problem was that the mountains had shaped a funnel
leading from the crater and straight into the town center. Any
pyroclastic cloud or lava flow would hit it mid-ship But the volcano
eventually calmed down again, and slowly the town came back to
life, the tourists returned. Today, the only visible sign of the
potential danger is the yellow escape route marks painted on every
street. We stayed for two days, marveling at how the gray clouds
coming from the still smoking crater drifted over our heads. The
human being is a master in adjustment, but we found it incredible
that people dared live their whole lives on the foot of a dormant
When we left Baños heading south, we chose the road connecting
it to Riobamba, a road closed for a long time after the small outburst
from Tungurahua. Landslides, mud slides and lava flows had cut off the
road on ten-eleven different spots, leaving it impassable for anything
except small cars and, of course, motorcycles. The first two hours we
bypassed land slide after land slide. Sometimes Bente got off and walked
over the soft sand, while I gassed it and wobbled my way through. I was
happy to feel good about the ride, but Bente was still nervous and didn't
like the dirt riding. Luckily she got better towards the end.
Baños had poverty as well, as every Latin American city
We bypassed Riobamba and continued south through a wonderful mountainous
landscape to Alausi where we spent the night. On one of the local restaurants
close to the bus station, the lady told us, when asked for the menu, that
they had merienda and nothing more. Lunch! We smiled and ordered. Why
have a menu full of different dishes when all it takes is to make one
good one. This was something we would see a lot more of in the time to
come, small eateries that only served one dish, merienda, almuerzo or
cena, depending on the place and the time of day. The dish started with
a soup with meat and potatoes in it, then came with rice and chicken or
meat, followed by a juice made of one the uncountable fruits they grow
The road to Cuenca was okay, but we had to keep our eyes wide open because
of all the rocks in the road, washed down from the hillsides during
the rainy season, which was now. There seemed to be no hurry in
removing them and making the road safer, but to our luck most
rock slides were old and ploughed trough by buses and trucks,
opening up the path for us. After a very quick stop in the colonial
beauty of Cuenca, we drove on. Now the road turned worse and worse.
This was a surprise to us who had been told time and again that
this section of the Pan American Highway had been fixed and paved
during the last year.
We climbed up to 3500 meters where we could only see the remnants
of the pavement. We were riding on pure gravel and had entered
the clouds. Soon the visibility was so low we had serious problems
seeing were the road led. In addition my by now totally fogged
visor wouldn't stay up anymore, which meant I had to raise the
whole chin section on my helmet to be able to see anything, leaving
my face soaked and cold and my eyes sore from the rain. From time
to time a bus came towards us, prompting me to steer Rocinante
as far out of harms way as possible. It had gotten very cold and
wet, and it took forever to get out of the mountains and start
the descend towards Loja. When we finally did, we felt the heat
coming back into our bones, and cheered the clear skies that welcomed
We stayed three nights in Loja, a town according to the South American
Handbook and itself, the musical capital of Ecuador. When we went in search
for live music that night, we were amazed at how little there was. A street
concert celebrating a classical maestro was nice, but in the bars they
said; "Yes we have live music. No we don't have a band." We
ended a long and futile search in a little bar where after five minutes
a seven man mariachi band entered the stage. The Mexican Mariachi music
never was our favorite, so we quickly emptied our glasses and headed home.
Going from Baños to Riobamba through more fantastic nature.
Peru was waiting for us just around the corner, and on Monday 14th of
January we drove the remaining part of Ecuador to Macará
on the border. Checking out as tourists was easy, then we moved
ten meters ahead to the customs. A young guy worked a type writer
and then asked for a copy of my passport, which now had a hand
written page canceling our bike permit. But since it was Sunday,
the copying office was closed. He asked me to come along in his
car, so we could go back to Macará, a ten minutes drive,
to make the needed copy in his office.
A German who lived in La Paz, Bolivia, had been waiting in line
with his car, and when he saw us taking off, he came running.
He needed the same cancellation, and the custom officer knew it,
but had anyway planned on taking me to town first, then the German.
Now he brought both passports along and we went for a ride. The
ride was kind of odd, since we seemed to make a lot more turns
in town than necessary. He was honking his horn and saluting people
everywhere, and I had a growing suspicion he was proving his status
by driving foreigners around town every Sunday.
When we crossed over to the Peruvian side, we were, for the first time
so far, asked for the Carnet de Passage. I simply shrugged and said we
didn't have it, which was satisfactory to the officer. After about an
hour and a half at the border and without paying anything, we left with
two months permit for both us and Rocinante. We felt refreshed and had
more or less left the accident behind us. Bienvenidos a Peru.
Saturday food market in Otavalo.
On 3500 meters on our way to Loja,
before fog and rain combined with a lousy road made the trip more
When the weather was nice, the Andes
showed its beauty. We were on our way to Loja