Second border, same mistakes. We stopped in some very small border village late at night and early next morning crossed into Peru without breakfast. Being prepared from the previous border experience, I asked the hotel staff for some coffee and fished in the bags for some chips. Ivan had some food in his stomach, I counted carefully all the document and the crossing went smoothly.
If there is something that I didn’t expect from Peru, it was the desert. Desert all the way along the west Pacific coast. After being cold for a week in Ecuador, we descended from lush green Andean hills, entering Peru in what looked like a forgotten moonscape with long stretches of sand dunes, succulents, deformed dry trees and strange man-made structures. Along the Pan-American highway in this unexpected desert there are different sizes unfinished houses, and kilometers of some strange structures of walls without roofs. When I asked our host later that night what is the name of that desert, he very convincingly answered that this is not a desert at all. According to Wikipedia, this is Sechura desert and it is a subject of occasional flooding. This is the reason the locals do not agree with the desert definition.
The dryness, the dust, the hostile conditions and the poor lifestyle are something I could accept. It’s like that in many parts of the world, including Colombia and Ecuador we just crossed. What I cannot understand are the miles of roadside garbage piles along the highway. They reminded me of long forgotten quote by Karl Marx, learned in my socialistic youth: “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”
And by the way, the Pacific ocean here, along Peru coast is vast, strangely beautiful and cold. What is with the cold on this continent? I think it’s everywhere! Or it’s just me.
Driving in Peru could be a lot of fun. If some of my Indian friends watches the video below, please let me know if I’m ready to drive in Mumbai.
We had big expectations for Peru. If I can use only one word for my first impressions of Peru, it would be “strange”. The strangest thing probably are the buildings. Not the ones built by the Incas or the Sechin civilizations centuries ago, but the ones from nowadays.
When someone buys a lot here, looks like the first and most important thing is to build a 3 meters high bricks wall around it. The next step is to print his name and phone number on the wall in a size which can be easily read from a lowly flying aircraft. The other important information printed on the wall is whether “se vende” or “no se vende” (for sale or not for sale). I’m not sure if there is a register for the building lots in Peru, but in my opinion it’s not needed.
The empty lots with high brick walls look strange, but they are nothing compared to the actual buildings. According to the laws, there are no property taxes owed if the building is not finished. That’s why there are practically no finished houses. A typical Peruvian house has no roof and is plastered only on the facade. The reinforcing steel bars are sticking out from the pillars, waiting the next floor to be built one day.
Comparing what the Incas have built here centuries ago to what is being built now, it looks to me that our civilization is going south. Who knows, may be the Incas have had better property tax laws.
Thanks to Google, we kind of got lost and drove for couple of hours on a dirt road across the mountains without any other vehicles around. We kind of made it, but looks like couple of other guys didn’t do well on this road.
Marinela didn’t like the name of this beautiful hotel and we didn’t stay there. Maybe next Halloween.
At the end, greetings from us with “Zen and the art of VW maintenance”