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Monday, January 23, 2012

From Poverty to Prosperity

Last night's experience in Cerro de Pasco won't be repeated. Cold, windy and a town that is listed as verrrry poor and unattractive. Home of a huge open pit mine the town seems to have no redeeming qualities worth listing. Hell, we didn't discover a single one, or I would list it.

As Jim and I left this morning it was 36 degrees and clear. Jim's bike kicked to life immediately. Mine after cranking to the point that I was worried about a dead battery, I decided to set off to find a can of ether. After asking three people and getting similar directions I had success. Wow, this even surprised me!

Back at the hotel we shot the air intake with two blasts and it started right up. What I believe we have here is another example of arrogant BMW engineers building a world class bike in the vacuum of Germany. My bike had 90 octane gasohol, the Peruvian standard, the temperature was 36 degrees and we were at 14500 feet. I believe these are conditions the old Germans failed to anticipate. What did we learn? Never travel in South America on your BMW without a can of ether.

Out of Cerro de Pasco we had a beautiful highway to Huancayo. As we dropped in elevation the prosperity improved. In Lago Junin we saw hundreds of flamingoes, unfortunately too far away to include a photo. At about 11-12000 feet real agriculture began to appear. And the LIGs faded away. Have to wonder if there was the day when the Indians occupied the lower elevations.

We stopped for breakfast at a little place that turned out to be quite good. Jim had eggs and cheese and I had trout and vegetables along with two cups of coffee. We escaped for 21 soles.

We went through a small town that had been home to a huge smelter. Clearly the emissions had denuded the mountains of all vegetation. Subsequently there was significant erosion. Reminded me a bit of the toxicity around the Tacoma Smelter, except this devastation was broader and more intense. It must have been shut down years ago because there are some small signs of green returning. At the water outfall from the smelter was a big sign saying they don't pollute the river. Hell, they sent it all into the air!

Hitting Huancayo at 2:00 we decided to quit early and opted for a room upgrade. After the last two hotels that had nonfunctioning showers this was our top priority. But along with it we got a first class room. Clean at last, clean at last. Warm too.

Two or three more days to Ollantaytambo. After our visit to Machu Picchu we will have no schedule which should allow us to wander a bit more.

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys-
    Are you noticing any difference in the fuel you are using (mileage, performance, smell, etc.)?

    Some of you pictures look very wide, almost fish eye. Is this your new camera? what kind is it?

    With all that time at those elevations, you guys won't know what to do with all the air you'll have back in Seattle.