We drive from Tingo Maria to Tocache. It rains every day, and with each drop my mood sinks. With every passing cloud, I wish to be back at the Pan American highway, where it was at least dry. There is not much beauty to my eyes, only trees, green lushness, rivers and never very far to have my sight wander. In the jungle uninterrupted views do not exist.
An honest critique without negative undertone
By now, sitting on the back of a motorbike is no fun anymore. Neither is camping in the jungle of North Peru, it never really was. Yet, looking back, it is always less problematic than in the very moment. Sitting on a porch, writing under a roof while the rain falls, makes up for the dragging ongoing in a humid jungle. Let’s go back to where I was in my previous post.
I try to give an honest critique without negative undertone, hope I succeeded…
Camping in the jungle? Is that fun? The word fun I dislike, so let’s call it interesting. Well, interesting it certainly is! I think on any long term travel fun only happens out of the blue, when an unexpected happening takes place. By now, sitting on the back of a motorbike for days on end is no fun anymore. It was fun when I met Geo, when we went on a short tour through the loose sand of the Chaco in Paraguay. Camping in the jungle could be fun in that way too, but by now, we find it hard to enjoy camp spots.
I knew Geo would get fed up with the ugliness of the Pan American highway at some point. I knew the time would come we would traverse the Andes again. I just sat quietly at the back of the Kenton, until the auspicious moment would arrive. Now it has.
A motorbike is more intense. Traversing and therefor absorbing goes faster. On average I have to process more motorized vehicles passing by, which adds up to more stress. Remarkable enough, the sound of our own motorbike does not disturb me. I also have to deal with more scenic camp spots in a shorter time lapse than being on a bicycle. This luxury position translates into the need to write and photograph. In short, I have more incoming imagery than a mode to digest. The route may contain less beauty in comparison to the Andes, I still see more beauty than ugliness.
A sort of opposite experience has been revealed: the motorbike shows a very different content of the Peruvian coast than cycling. Perhaps our negative feel is due to the fact that we choose to drive beyond Camaná. When I cycled the costanera, I deliberately avoided the stretch between Lima and Camaná. However, Geo does not want to be in the Andes anymore and I reckon he will change his mind sooner or later, as the costanera will become ugly. To such an extend he will seek his escape into the Andes, and I just wait until that happens…
Without Further Pondering: Booked! Dad wants to escape the gloom Dutch winter. I think he should come to me. My sister agrees. She books a flight. And then I start to stress: can dad handle the altitude of nearly 4000 meters, he has a lung capacity of 50 percent and he’s got a cardiac arrhythmia?
First thing I do is escaping Lima and celebrating my alone time. I am back where I belong, having returned from a little detour, a failed deviation.
I meet with Seth, whom I met for the first time 14 years ago. He is coming to Peru and we can meet if we like. Back then, 14 years ago, while I was using the computer in a Nicaraguan internet-cafe he sat next to me and said: ‘Shall we chitchat later?’ I was surprised by the words ‘chitchat’. We were young backpackers, in our late twenties, traveled on and off together between Nicaragua and Costa Rica on a bus. I thought I could do that again. I was wrong.
December 2016: That’s what cycling without a plan does: unexpected surprises come your way. I was meeting with an old-time friend. Not in Argentina where I was, but in Lima. Peru. I took a bus, 4 days on end. Going back I wanted to avoid more busses.