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Sat May 24 2014: From Russia With Love

We've got a couple of long riding days ahead of us.

When I did the research between the rainy, interior mountain roads, or the sunny, straight coastal roads, I was warned that the scenery along the western shores of Peru would be fairly monotonous for most of the way. So at least we were prepared for what laid ahead.

Riding through the coastal deserts of North-Western Peru

I'm not very happy with the point-and-shoot camera I picked up in Guayaquil. The focus is not very good when moving and the colours are not very vibrant. Unfortunately, I found this out much later when looking through the photos. We spent most of the ride using the crappy camera. Going to try to get a replacement Nikon soon.

Frequent drink stops along the way. Neda is giving the Evil Eye to something or someone...?

Some picturesque sand dunes by the side of the road

Good lord! Gas is so expensive here. Probably to pay for Marc Marquez's salary...

So funny seeing some of the European companies in Latin America that have virtually no presence in North America. The only exposure we have to them are when their names are plastered on the motorcycles that they sponsor on the races on TV. I had no idea that Movistar was not pronounced Movie-Star until I learned Spanish. "Movi" is short for Movil (mobile phone) and is pronounced "MobiStar".

Neda has some really strange poses in this bunch of pictures. Trying to figure out what she's saying here.

"Your lens cap is on"
"No it's not.
"Yes it is"
*click* :)

We stopped in Chiclayo for the evening. Our hotel was right above a casino...

...and a nice restaurant. Ordered a bit too much food...

We had waited too long for dinner (skipped lunch while on the road) and we were both starving, so our eyes were larger than our stomachs and this is what came after we ordered. The plate of fries was bigger than Neda's head! Oops.

A quick bit of wrenching in enemy territory

On the way to Chiclayo, my rear brake light burnt out, so before we left the next day, we dropped into a Honda dealership just down the road to buy a replacement bulb. Unlike the front halogen which I've replaced every 15,000 kms, this is the first rear bulb I've replaced on my bike. Not bad for 185,000 kms! We'll see how far the Honda bulb takes me.

While I'm busy with my bike, Neda performs some impromptu translation duties

Some Honda personnel came out to watch. My bike (and probably me) were quite a curiousity. Then another Honda guy came out and asked Neda to translate a document for him into Spanish. At first I thought it was in English, but found out later that is was written in Cyrillic letters!

I asked Neda, "How did he know you were Slavic?". She replied, "He didn't. I was the only white person around so he assumed I knew Russian!"

OMGLOL! That was the funniest thing I've heard since Punchbuggy Chino! So glad I'm not the only victim of stereotyping down here. We're renaming our blog, "The Adventures of Punchbuggy Chino and Slavic Chick".

Neda did a little Cossack Dance for the Honda people and then we were off!

Ducking down to pass a truck

The winds coming off the coast are vicious. Irregular currents of air blow our bikes sideways and sometimes we are leaning 45 degrees into the wind while traveling straight. The worse is when passing long trucks, when we're temporarily shielded from the coastal gusts, and then once past the leading edge of the trucks bumper, we're violently and abruptly subjected to the high winds again. Very unnerving.

Sometimes the winds have blown large dunes that have spilled over on our side of the road, forcing us into the next lane. We have to time our passes past these stationary mini-dunes between oncoming traffic.

Many unfinished buildings line the road on the way south

There seems to be much more of a "developing nation" feel to Peru, due in large part to the rubbish strewn all over on the side of the road and also the rows of unfinished buildings, their re-bar skeletons poking up into the air, empty promises of a second or third story never fulfilled.

I later learned that there was a method behind this messiness. In Peru, you don't have to pay property tax if you are still developing on the land. Almost every building down here is unfinished because of this loophole.

Our bikes find a nice place to sleep in Trujillo

We've booked into a nice but still cheap hotel away from the city centre of Trujillo, which is the second largest city in Peru behind Lima. There are a few things to see around here so we're staying for a few days.

Very striking colours of Trujillo Cathedral

Walking on the polished stones of the Plaza de Armas

Guarding the sewing machines

Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon) with Cerro Blanco (White Hill) volcanic peak in the background

Less than 10 kms outside of town lie twin active archaeological digs called Huacas del Sol y Luna (Temples of the Sun and Moon). Very Indiana Jones-sounding! The temples were built by the Moche people about 1500-2000 years ago.

Uncovering a huge wall with amazing mural-work at the Temple of the Moon

The detail of the surviving structures at Huaca de la Luna is astounding

The tour guide told us that unlike a lot of other ruins, every effort has been made to keep the structures as original as possible with minimal reconstruction. Some of the details that survived the last couple of millennia are astounding.

In the distance to the right, is Huaca del Sol (Temple of the Sun)

Huaca del Sol is much larger than the Temple of the Moon, but unfortunately it was looted and destroyed by Spanish Conquistadors in the 17th century. Not much remains today but the large external structure that looks like a bunker or fort. Most of the archaeological work is focused on the Temple of the Moon.

Peruvian hairless dogs running around the restaurants and stores set up at the ruins

Such a strange-looking dog. Most of them are not completely hairless, but have a thin, little mohawk on top of their heads. Because of my allergies, this might be the kind of dog we'd be able to own. If I could only get past their looks! They're an ancient breed of dog, known to be kept as household pets from pre-Incan times.

We stopped by a small diner and I ordered Cuy: Fried guinea pig! It was delicious!

"Tunnel of Wishes"

Back in town, we went walking around our neighbourhood and visited a little tourist attraction the city put up called El Paseo de Aguas, some lighted fountains in a small park.

Timing our runs through the fountain

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