I made it back to the BMW garage just in time to pick up my bike and gear. Then I went back my hotel repacked and loaded it up for an early departure to beat the Lima traffic (if that’s possible). I left the city at 7am heading south on the Pan-American Highway in the direction of Arequipa just over 1000 kms away. After Nazca the road was pretty spectacular. First there were deserts and sand storms to contend with. I spent a few hours riding leaning into the wind and spitting out sand. Then the road reached the coast and floated along it for the next few hours. You wouldn’t want to be scared of heights here, there were no barriers to stop you going over the edge and when there were they were about 2 foot high, absolutely no good to me. The road then wound its way back into the mountains and up to Arequipa, the second biggest city in Peru. I found a hotel on the outskirts had some dinner and was asleep by 8 pm. Another incredible days riding through spectacular scenery behind me.
The next morning I set off through the mountains again for a town called Puno about 350 km away. The road reached a height of 4400 meters. It was bleak and dismal to be honest. I had to take out my winter gear and re-dress on the top of a mountain pass I was so cold. Some of the scenery in parts was nice; there were alpaca and lama everywhere (although I don’t know which is which). I reached the town of Puno about 12 o clock, had some lunch and explored it for a couple of hours. I found it a town best viewed in my rear view mirror so I took off towards Copacabana Bolivia. I reached the border around 5 pm; it was open till six so I had plenty of time.
Crossing out of Peru was no problem at all, there were four different offices that I had to go to but they were all next door to each other. I was out of Peru and into Bolivia in no time. First port of call here was Immigration which was a five min affaire; there was no one else about. Then it was off to see the customs guy. This is where the fun started. He appeared nice at first but was far from it. I gave him all my paperwork and he filled out the proper forms. Then he wanted to see my insurance for Bolivia. I told him I didn’t have any but was willing to buy some if there was some place selling it. He told me the only place was in La Paz 150km away and that I would have to go there purchase this and come back leaving the bike with him until I returned. I told him he was loco if he thought I was doing that. Then he starts to lean back in his chair rubbing his fingers together. I leaned back in mine and stared at him. He then stood up and looked out the window while rubbing his fingers together behind his back. I think he expected there to be a little something on the table when he turned around but surprise surprise there wasn’t. I was only going 8km further that day and could sit there all night. There was now a que beginning to form behind me because I had my chair blocking the door to his office and wouldn’t let anyone else in. If he wanted to get home that night he’d better let me go. He finally gave up and let me through after we stared at each other for another ten minutes. It was still easier and more enjoyable than most border crossings in Central America.
I then rode on to Copacabana and explored the little town on the shores of Lake Titicaca before meeting up with Mark, Nick and Ivanka again. The next day we took a boat to the isle of the Sun, the birth place of the Incas. Not too much out there to be honest, mostly just piles of rocks. I think by now I have seen more than my fair share of piles of rocks. I wish they would just finish one pile before starting another. Take Machu Picchu for example, it was defiantly the best pile of rocks I’ve seen for a long time, I can only imagine how amazing it will be when it’s finished whenever that will be.
The next day we headed off for La Paz a whopping 150km away. It was only a short distance but it took us 5 hours. First problem of the day was my rear wheel was flat, easily fixed though. I think some of the neighborhood kids might have let it down to get revenge for me shouting at them the previous night. They were playing football outside my window till 1am while their parents and the rest of the village drank themselves into oblivion. Then we had to que for fuel for half an hour before paying almost double what the locals pay for it. The government subsidizes fuel for the locals so they charge us more because we don’t pay tax here, fine with me but I bet the government never see’s their share. Then we had to cross the lake on a real dodgy “ferry”. Then there was a road block that the locals had set up for some unknown reason (the people here aren’t too bright to be honest). They blocked the road with rocks spread all through for hundreds of meters. We had to ride through fields to get around this. I had my second “off” of the trip in one such field when my back wheel decided my front wheel was going to slow and passed it out spinning me round in a circle. No damage done though. Then there was the crazy traffic as we entered the city of La Paz. I think you get your driving license in a packet of crisps here. No one obeys traffic signals or laws here, they all drive like we ride, which makes for total and utter chaos.