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Day 3 - hot and stinky

Howdy everyone. I’m in an internet café in Ica, Peru typoing on a machine that TOTALLY SUCKS so my spelling will be pretty bad.

We have been riding for three days now and things seem to be going well. The first two days we got about 35 miles and today it was ummmm, 78 kilometers what ever that is in miles. I’m beginning to think in kilometers and have set the GPS to use such. On Sunday, we took a bus from Lima to Cañete at about 6:30 in the morning and I think that even though the bus stations may be dens of iniquity, they are much nicer than any bus station that I’ve seen in the US. They are clean and while full of buracracy they function quite well. You see, everyone rides the bus here.

The first day was sort of grimy. Grey skys actually mists/fog and sand dunes made of dirt. Not very pleasant, but ok. There are a lot of buses and trucks on the Pan American highway. At mile 32 we had just descended a huge hill and there was a “resort” hostel and restaurant. Well, it turns out that the hostel was closed for the winter (it is winter here at 60-80 degrees F depending on where you are) but they let us camp. No restuarant though so Anton went down the road a bit and got some eggs, pasta and potatoes. Let me tell you, peeling potatoes with a dull knife is not a very fun task. The funny thing is I was using his Russian made knife as I could not find mine. When I did find it he proclaimed that it wasn’t that sharp. Hmmm, it is straight from the manufacture and it beats the hell out of that piece of crap without a handle. The next task was starting the stove. Cecilia and I had going on that trek to find kerosene and I’m glad we did. The stove lit, but doesn’t really work correctly, but it worked enough to cook the pasta. Oh – cooking with kerosene is stinky. So for dinner we had a delicious concotion of fried potatoes, scrambled eggs and pasta allll in one dish. It was the best food ever.

Day two was difficult. Stiff muscles and a little bit of contention between the two of us as to how to find a hostel. I was not in the mood for searching around for the cheapest dive when I had a guide book right there to tell me where to go. Oh, and I got scolded for being rude to the 3 people crowded around me shoving papers in my face telling me that they had the best hostel for us. Me, rude? The whole situation was rude, but we eventually paid the $10 (US) for a room in a recommended hostel and had a warm shower. The food this second day was great. Breakfast was some snacks and about an hour into the ride we stopped for breakfast/lunch and no it wasn’t brunch. I had a great chicken sandwich with papas. The condiment of choice is aji – chili sauce – and it is yummy. We then had cebiche which was different than the stuff I had had in Lima. It was little tiny fillets in a yellow lime juice so there must have been a spice in it. The corn looked more like our corn rather than the choclo and the requisite camote (sweet potatoes) were included. Finished our beer and water and we were on the road again. For 5 minutes.

Then Anton discovered that his derailleur was bent so we went to some back street to find the “bike shop” which was a little stand. As soon as we stopped about 7 people crowded around us and the guy wrenched his derailleur a little more in line. Then we got the hell out of there up a one way street. We are following the traffic rules about as much as the locals.

Dinner was parradilla – steak. And a damn fine steak it was with fries of sorts and a beer for about $7. Just about as much as our hostel. I also bought my first empanada which I ate along the road today (Tuesday). Delicious – even cold.

Today we covered a lot of distance and made it to Ica. The terrain has changed to mostly desert but somehow they are growing things here as there a oranges and mandarines sold all along the highway closer to Ica. And the area seems to be known for olive oil too. Today was hot and we broke out the sunscreen. I think I still got a little sun and by the end of the day we were both sapped by riding for hours in the sun. Ica is quite big. This hostel is in the $7 dollar range rather than the $10 range and the bed sags, there is no towel, no hot water (I took a hooker bath in the sink), no toilet seat and as far as I can tell no one else in the hostel. It is cleanish and we did get toilet paper and a tiny pink bar of soap. In the distance obscured by either dust or smog was our first glimpse of the foothills. They are very dry – much drier than the foothills of the Northern California Sierras. We will start up in about three days.

Some interesting things along the road:
A lion in a cage on a truck
A dog eating a dog
A donkey with a hose as a bridle and reins
Lots and lots of trucks and vans who LOVE to beep at you

I think that is enough for now.

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