Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Peru – Bones & Gold

Making my way north through Peru, figured really should take in some of the ancient history. After Macchu Picchu and the land drawing at Nazca it was time for a museum presentation. Claus from Sucre recommend a museum, but the name he gave wasn’t quite right and the town Chiclayo didn’t have the grade/quality of museum that he spoke about. With some head scratching, noodling around with the GPS and the Peru tourism bureau maps, I decided it was a museum a little to the north of Chiclayo. 10 miles or later I found it. Did I mention it was Monday. Yeah, the day when most museums all around the world are closed. The Museu Nacional Sican is no exception. The doors were shut tight. Fortunately the guards were very nice and provided me with a small stack of brochures. I resolved to spend the night in Ferreñafe, the closest town and return in the morning…
Going back to Ferreñafe I took some photos of a cemetery, Cementerio El Carmen, with an impressive collection of large statues lining the entrance corridor.
I was initially very impressed with the angels above the entrance arch, till I saw them wobble in the wind. That is when it was apparent that they were made of plastic.   
Now the search for a hotel…and instead I found a feature film crew. I was immediately impressed that they were using a RED camera. This camera was designed and manufactured by OAKEY, the sunglass company. I am sure he owner had more than a little help from engineers. The RED a digital camera and the cost is so low that production companies buy a camera instead of renting traditional movie camera that use film. The camera is shaking up the classic models of producing films, like many things digital. The crew was capturing the principle actor walking towards the camera in one very long take. At the end of the “action” the actor stops in an intersection, looks this way and that, ponders a while, then walk on. A totally gripping moment, I am sure. Turns out the actor is the director and producer too. I have to wonder if it is his first film and if he ever edited a movie in his life.
Fast forward to the next morning… I returned to Museu Nacional Sican shortly after they opened. The collection describes a royal tomb and presents a wide range of gold ornaments, beads and shells. The tomb is reconstructed. There are two very interesting aspects to the burial tomb: the king is in a fetal position, upside down, and there is a woman in the position of giving birth. For reasons I can not explain, I did not photograph the reconstructed tomb. You’ll have to find images online or visit the museum.
The second museum I visited is the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán. The collection is bigger and includes another reconstructed tomb. Unfortunately photography is not allowed in this museum. If you have to pick one museum to visit, go to this one.
Ecuador - Lord of Sapin Tomb Museum

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lima–Day II

I checked out of my no print hostel in the center of old town Lima and headed for modern culture, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Lima (LiMAC)
Next I was determined to find the best restaurants in Lima and have dinner in one of them to celebrate my birthday. Restaurante Central was on the top of the list, as it was recommended by the Mexican riders, Guillermo and Mario, that I met in Copacabana, Bolivia a few days earlier. The second choice was Astrid y Gaston. After spending way too much time search, I took a break for a Chifa lunch. Chifa is a fusion of Chinese and Pervian…although it tasted pretty much like Chinese to me. Finally I found Restaurante Central and knock on the door. Someone answered and informed me that they were completely full for tonight. I resolved to come anyway and see if I could get a table. Soon after I found Astrid y Gaston and found they were full too, but would seat me at the bar. Ok, I have a back-up plan. On to the beach…
I located the municipal beach, parked the bike at the end of the beach near a stone jetty, bought a beer and proceeded to hang out with my new Peruvian chokos (not sure of the spelling, but it roughly means buddies.) The older guy to the right in photo and I saw Joe Cocker songs together…  Went swimming with two of them and after I got to my new hotel I couldn’t find my ear buds which I was certain I stored in a zipper pocket of the backpack. I will never know if one of them snagged the ear buds out of my backpack while I was swimming or if I just managed to lose them…
Before leaving the beach area I rode to the top of a hill on the south side of town.
There was some cool stencil art -
...and Jesus of the Cell Towers -

Found a new hostel and settled in. Took a nap that lasted much longer than expected, waking up near 9:00 PM. Now I had to scrabble to locate Restaurante Central and hopefull get a table. I arrived near 10:00 PM and it worked out well, because the early dinners were done a a table was available. A short wait at the bar and a glass of Blanton’s bourbon… Would they offer the tasting menu? The waiter checked with the chief and the answer was yes. Oh Yes! I wanted to do the tasting menu at this restaurant and now it was going to happen. Why go half way with the tasting menu, without the wine pairing? Sure, if you going to do it, do it right.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lima Day I…and road from Nazca–Lima–Puira


I had been riding with Guillermo since half way from Cusco to Nazca, the third one that I have met on the trip, so far. This Guillermo is from southern Argentina. His plans were uncertain and wouldn’t be know until after I left Nazca. There was a chance he would meet me in Lima, where we had reservations at a hotel that was associated with the hotel in Nazca. As things turned out, Guillermo did not show up in Lima. He is a skilled rider and I enjoyed following him through the turns of Peru. Good travels my friend.

The alarm was set for 4:15 AM to give me time to pack, roll the bike out of the hotel lobby and into the street by 5:00 AM. Gas tank full, a cup of coffee on the street and I was headed north from Nazca in the pre-dawn to Lima by 5:15 AM. The reason for the early morning departure was to get to the BMW dealer in Lima by noon and have the valves checked on the motorcycle. BMW recommends having the valve clearance checked every 12,000 miles. The odometer was pushing 25,000 miles and no inspection of the valves yet…yikes. The service manager at the BMW dealer in La Paz asked if I was hearing unusual noises or losing power, No and no. Then go to Lima he said. There were three adventure riders ahead of me when I pulled into the dealer in La Paz. Not wanting to wait for their bikes to be serviced, I left for Peru. Now I was racing the clock to get to Lima and have work completed before the weekend. In fact the service department in Lima works half a day on Saturday, but I wanted to be sure and button up the bike before they shut down at noon on Saturday.

After dropping off the bike at the BMW dealer, I headed to my hotel. The dealer very kindly paid of car service and warned me of Friday night traffic if I choose to return that day. Dina De la Piedra and Eduardo Hearne of Automotores Gildemeister Perú S.A. were great. They gave me good advice and service. Thanks for everything!

BMW Motorrad Perú
Automotores Gildemeister Perú S.A.
Dirección: Javier Prado este 5535 La Molina, Lima
Ciudad: Lima
Teléfono central: (511) 617 9750
Fax:(511) 617-7777

The service was completed by close of business on Friday and I heeded their warning, opting to pick up the bike Saturday morning and avoid Lima rush hour traffic. Now I was free to roam Lima. A few blocks from the hotel the scene turned from semi-dusty urban not so pretty to interesting. MALI appeared ahead, the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI.)

There were two shows, one I had seen in Buenos Aires and the other was new to me. The Oscar Muñoz: Protografías show was a second look for me. His work includes movie clips projected onto table tops of images that are floating on water and washing away down the drain. Other pieces are lithographic patterns of portraits that are burnt into paper. Water and glass are recurring themes in his art.

Oscar Munioz_Narcisos large

Wolfgang TillmansThe second show simply titled, Wolfgang Tillmans, presented an assortment of photographs. Some huge photo-chemical murals, multi-panel installations, and individual prints. The subject ranged from pure abstract to figurative portraits and still lives. The curator and artist would no doubt wildly disagree with my basic descriptions. With no online reference to use, my coarse words will have to suffice. Sum it up by saying I like many of his pieces and wish the featured piece was larger.

Leaving the museum I stopped to chat at the information counter. There was honk, honk, honking in the air. Is this a demonstration? No, it’s the football game (soccer.) It is a big game, Peru vs. Chile, and they are selling horns on the street. Where is the game? Are tickets available? The stadium is not far, just a few blocks, but the all the tickets are certainly sold. I’m so there…just to hang out on the street and feel the energy of the fans. In the end Peru scored the only goal of the game in the closing moments. The town went wild.


…and I bought a t-shirt, player #10, the hero who kicking the winning goal.


On the road from Nazca to Lima I saw the Pacific ocean for the first time in months. For the first time in many weeks I was no longer in the mountains and high attitudes. Now the air was rich and sweet. No more panting. Not counting seeing the Pacific on the tip of South America, during the trip to Cape Horn, I hadn’t seen the Pacific, hmmm, since Mexico. That was in September.

Now I am riding north, and mostly there is nothing. Miles and miles of empty dessert along or near the Pacific coast. There is wind and blowing sand, and a touch of fog. The dust in the air was so thick that the mountains to the east were obscured completely. The road is straight mind numbing, so drivers hit the gas and motor. Add the cross winds to the mix and the effects are challenging. When a large truck or bus comes flying your way, the motorcycle gets whipped around in the back draft of the passing vehicle. The bike can get tossed around, shifting around in the lane and the body is yanked back and forth. Its more than a bit un-nerving. And then there is a blowing sand…


Between Nazca and Piura it 880  miles with an occasion turn or town, but mostly it straight, flat road with an occasional heard of goats crossing the road. What those goats eat remains a mystery to me. I could see very little except sand, dust, rocks and more sand. Its good road if you want to make time, which I do at this point in the trip.

Peru - Pano with bike

Other than sand and flat straight roads, the only items dotting  the landscape were depressing shacks made of square panels of woven straw. I just can’t imagine living in these boxes and with the wind howling all around and blowing sand a constant feature. My heart goes out to the people that live there.


Then ~880 miles later, north of Piura, the landscape suddenly turned green. I’m talking rice field green. It only lasted for a short while, then back to dessert, with curves.

peru -green coast 02