Peru Motorcycle Diary, Chapter Five: Casma to Pacasmayo

15 May

Day Eleven I took a stroll around Casma while Stu squeezed in a visit to a hair salon. A whole six soles (AUD2.30).
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Copies of Sechin stone carvings illustrate bloody times well before the Incas began their empire building.

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Stuart’s bike needed more attention but was eventually declared fit for action.

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It was time to head north again which meant the route via Chimbote, a town with one of the highest crime rates in Peru. David had briefed the riders about Chimbote so they were a little apprehensive, but happily we all passed through without incident.

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Now it was time to revisit the Panamerican Highway photo shoot. The riders had restaged the famous Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ photo on the way down the Panam but Mark wasn’t happy with it and nor was I. We agreed it had to be done with one person in bare feet and Mark was game. However to get (left to right) Franco, Richard, Mark and Stuart to freeze their walk evenly spaced across a hectic highway and not look at the camera was nigh on impossible.

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The boys playing silly buggers.

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A more sobering sight met us just a few kilometres further along. Nine simple white, wooden crosses mark the graves of a group of nine Shining Path guerillas. They are buried where they died in a shoot out with the establishment.

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Lunch stop was a seafood restaurant in Huanchaco Beach, a few kilometres north of the hotel we’d stayed at on the way down. It soon became clear that the menu was not the only attraction of this particular restaurant.

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Stuart chose this moment to take a dip in the Pacific and emerged doing his best Daniel Craig impression. Unfortunately he lost the Adventure Peru Motorcycle beanie he walked into the surf wearing. I’ve donated him mine.

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Back onto the Panam continuing north and I soon lost count of the loco truck drivers making three lanes out of two. If you see this guy steer well clear, he’s a menace!

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Grey is the dominant colour of sky and ground in coastal Lima. Sand dunes try to swallow the road and demolished houses are dumped by the roadside. Long low white-roofed barns with large silos set well back from the road are crammed full of white chickens. Every restaurant menu has pollo done ten different ways. This is where they come from.

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We pass gravel works, stark grey and black desert hills and ten-year-old cowboys droving their half a dozen cows down the highway.

At dusk we turn towards the coast and the last night of this road trip. Pacasmayo is the surf capital of Peru. The Pakatnamu Hotel on the promenade is a mecca for surfers from all over the world, but especially Brasil judging by the Portuguese accents all around us.

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David kindly booked us into the matrimonial suite nearest the ocean so we have the sound of surf lulling us to sleep. A brief paseo around town to admire the concrete dolphin and sea horse fountain donated by the local cement works, dinner at L’Estacion, and we were ready for our ocean lullaby.

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