Pisaq to Copacabana
After four relatively static weeks in Pisaq, I am on the road again – albeit temporarily. With only a few days remaining on my Peruvian temporary import document for the moto, I had to leave the country and re-enter in order to renew the permit. When I arrived in Peru, I was sternly told by a customs officer that if I overstayed the date on the permit my bike would be confiscated; so I thought is best to heed his advice.
I left Pisaq early yesterday and re-traced my steps south. For the first time in 7 months, the bike gave me a few moments of concern, as the engine stuttered a few times as if it was being choked of fuel. A mechanical failure, with only a few days left on the import permit and 500km ahead of me before I could reach the nearest border, was not what I needed. Fortunately this ailment passed – I put it down to dirty fuel – and the bike ran perfectly for the rest of the day.
Back up on to the Altiplano, to 4300m. Even with the sun out the air remains cold at this altitude; despite wearing all my clothing, a chill set in and stayed with me until mid afternoon. Through Julliaca, then Puno and back on to the southern shore of Lake Titicaca. 530km and 8.5 hours later, I rolled into the pretty village of Copacabana. Last time I was here in April, the local farmers had blockaded the village for two weeks with felled trees and stone barricades, in protest about something. I only just made it to the village by riding my bike over and around the barricades: when I arrived, I found the place near deserted. This time it is very different – the tourists are here in force and the streets are buzzing.
Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, at 3800m – half in Peru, half in Bolivia. It is so large, the lake stretches all the way to the horizon as I look west out over the harbour. To the north is the Cordillera Real – a beautiful snow-covered mountain range rising above 6000m. For me, many places on the tourist trial in South America have failed to live up to the hype, but there is indeed something special about Titicaca.
As I write, sitting outside a cafe at 9.30am, the sun is beating down and I am wearing only a t-shirt. This is the winter way in this part of the world: very cold at night, but a fierce sun in the day. This afternoon, I shall take a boat to the Isla Del Sol and stay there for two or three days.
I have followed your daring pilgrimage since I learnt from your father about “horcamoto”, always with a pinch of sadness of have missed you when you stayed in Santiago. Most of February Monica and I were vacationing in a “fundo” near Lake Riñihue, Back at home an AF colleague told me that by chance by mid February someone at your embassy asked him to let me know that a British person had been trying to find my whereabouts. I called up the British embassy only to know that you have departed Santiago for an unknown destination. Thru Flavio in Brasil I finally succeded getting his e-mail.
Probably, when this mail reaches you may have already crossed the Equator line. We all admire your feat and send you our best wishes for luck and good continuation of your route