Right or Wrong, Blow your Horn

Day 23. Dec. 5: Cusco, Peru.

Once again, it has been days since a blog post. We are now in Peru and have two days off. Why? Because most of the participants are going to Machu Picchu. We will not go. Lots of reasons, but now we are glad this didn’t work for us because we both have some effects of altitude sickness. Ed more than me. Fatigue, shortness of breath mainly, but it’s not a good feeling. It is difficult even to walk far in this lovely town, the center of Inca culture. I did walk to the main square, Plaza de Armas, and photographed la Catedral and other churches that sourround it. img_2589

Our hotel Monasterio, has it’s own history. It was built in 1595 as a monastery and has retained its distinction and charm.img_2574



Back a bit in rally time. We crossed the border on Dec. 1. A four hour process that took valuable time in what should have been a relatively short driving day. Nothing compared to our crossing from China to Kazakhstan, in 2011, that was 10 hours.

Peru is not like either Argentina or Chile. Here are my first impressions.

  1. The food is better.
  2. The drivers are worse. Rude and aggressive. There are no lanes in most towns, few posted street signs and the only way to get through an intersection is to push on in. Not our style of driving which sets off a lot of horn honking. Traffic jams are the norm. fullsizerender-25
  3. Peru is more exotic than either Argentina or Chile. It is like stepping back in time.
  4. Traditional dress is the norm for older women complete with Peruvian hats. The contrast between the young with cell phones and jeans and the old is startling. fullsizerender-29
  5. All these countries have a great deal of poverty. I don’t know if Peru is really worse, it seems so, but that may be the route we are driving. The people who live in the desert of Chile are certainly poor and hardy. Houses are adobe brick or tar paper.
  6. Peru has some of the most spectacular scenery with lush farmland and mountains too.
  7. Peru has high altitudes, not just border crossings. Cusco is at 10,000 feet.

I must go back to our favorite stop so far. It was in Atacama, Chile, in the Atacama desert. Our hotel img_2478was beautiful, surrounded by the desert and volcanos. It reminded us of the wonderful safari lodges in Africa, minus the elephants, zebras and giraffes. We did see lots of llamas and alpacas though.



A little about the rally. The discussion at dinner is mostly about car problems from an axel breaking, overheating in the high altitudes, suspension failure, tire replacements, broken shackle bolts, headlights and cracks in windshields. Many, including us, have experienced vapor lock in the high heat and altitude. So far we have mostly been sympathetic listeners. Hope it stays this way.

img_2522One fascinating stop was an abandoned Saltpetre village in Humberstone, Chile. Very eerie, and reminded us of the abandoned mining towns in the US west.



Before we leave here Wednesday, we will take in an opera show and dinner at our hotel. Then we head to Nazca, Peru and will take a flight over the Nazca lines which were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD for reasons still debated. Then just one more day and we will finish in Lima.


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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1 Response to Right or Wrong, Blow your Horn

  1. Irene C says:

    I watched a show on PBS recently about the Nazca lines … absolutely fascinating.

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