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.