Friday, October 19, 2012

the Dakar is still in Lima

Although we are not too hot on big cities, they are a good place to get some errands done, which is exactly what we did in Lima.  Lima is notorious for having horrendous traffic, and it didn't disappoint, although it wasn't as bad as expected. We had a couple of hostel addresses written down, and were actually able to find them, but both ended up being booked up, so we settled for the Flying Dog hostel located on the main park in Miraflores, Parque Kennedy (Miraflores is the nice part of Lima that all the tourists go to). It was a fine place to park the bike (although we managed to piss the bartender off pretty bad for having the nerve to work on the bike in his outdoor area, despite the fact than no one ever used the space). We thought the hostel was a bit overpriced at 30 soles per person for a dorm bed, but at least they had hot water and wifi. We also had a strange man from the US who stayed in our room who liked to stay out late, wake up early, and nap all day in only his boxer briefs with no sheet on. This man also happened to be older and overweight, making for a pretty embarrassing scene for everyone (but somehow maybe not for him?). There were also two cats in the hostel that liked to spray, making for some pretty weird smells in some areas.

Speaking of cats, Kennedy Park is home to hundreds of cats.  We saw some signs in the park asking people not to abandon their cats in the park and also asking that if you want to adopt (= take) a cat that you bring a cage to put it in.  Apparently it has become popular to leave your unwanted cat in the park.  Many of them have been painted by a mysterious cat painter (favorite color = purple).

The major reason we came to Lima was to pick up a box mailed to us from the states to a very nice ADVrider. The box contained Jill's warmer riding jacket that she had sent home in Arizona and that she needs now. It also had two more CDI's for the bike, since we had to replace the last two we had in Brazil. Not only did we contact Neil, the ADVrider, unsolicited, but he also had to wait in line for several hours at customs to pick up the box. Then when we met him to pick up the box, he insisted that he take us out to dinner. A very nice dinner, which we enjoyed very much. Neil has been in Lima for about five years and runs a silver mine in Bolivia. He is originally from South Africa and picked up quite a bit of mining experience in Africa. He is also a crazy dirt bike rider with some intense stories of his crashes and near disasters while riding in Peru. He also recommended our route to Cusco, which turned out to be great advice. We really enjoyed meeting him and hope to run into him again when we visit the mine in Bolivia.

Us with Neil in Lima
(Us with Neil outside of the wonderful restaurant he took us to)

Also in the box were 2 new pilot jets for the carburetor, allowing us to finally get rid of our miss at low engine speeds and poor off-idle performance.  After having cleaned the old jets a few times in the past few months, it made the swap pretty darn easy with so much practice.  The other important errand to run while in Lima was to find some new brake pads.  Even with 3 reputable shops to try, no one had replacements.  One offered to order them online, but at a huge mark-up and with a 30 day delay.  No thanks.  Luckily while at MotoPerformance Peru, some other travelers pulled up - Jordan and Anne on their KLR650 and Will on his new-to-him DR650.  Thanks to their advice I was able to find a shop to refill our old brake pads, which kept us going even if they are pretty crappy.  And better yet, we got to hang out with them a couple of nights later.

Jordan and Anne had just finished up their Peace Corps service in Paraguay, bought a bike from another traveler there, and have spent the past couple of months traveling extensively in Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru. They will be on the road another month or so before selling the bike and moving on to their next phase. Their friend Will had just flown in from the states, bought a bike from someone that works in our hostel, and was planning on traveling with them south (more on that later). We had a really good time hanging out for the night, although at least one of us had a few too many Pisco Sours to be able to travel the next day as planned. We also had some delicious Pollo a la Brasa, which has become a staple for us here in Peru. You can order a 1/4, 1/2 or 1 full chicken and it comes with french fries and salad. A 1/4 order is a huge amount of food, is delicious, and usually costs 6-10 soles (about $2-4) depending on how touristy the town is. Sometimes we eat it on several consecutive days. We love it.

Anne, Will, Jordan and Mike in Lima
(Anne, Will, Jordan and Mike post-Pollos)

Perhaps the best errand that got done though, was for Mike to get some art (i.e. a tattoo). After stopping in a couple of shops, he settled on Dakar Tattoo shop, which turned out to do a great job. He was drawn to the Lanzón design from our visit to the ruins in Chavín de Huántar.  So now it stays with him on his shin.

Mike getting a tattoo in Lima
(in the middle of the three hour process)

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(the final product)

Graffiti art in Lima
(we always like to see good graffiti)

Sunset in Lima
(sunset from Larcomar, the extravagant shopping mall right on the beach)

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