Leaving Chiclayo on the Panamericana, I soon came to a roadblock and was told that the bridge was out. I would have to take a detour through the desert. You have to realize that I had now hit the vast expanse of Peruvian desert that I would deal with for the next few weeks. All of Peru´s coastal area is sand... lots and lots of sand. And it extends from Chiclayo all the way to Chile! Miles and miles (and more miles) of empty sand!
Finding the detour was tough enough. Of course there are no signs, you just keep asking enough people and eventually you find the detour. And then begins a dirt/sand track of about 25 miles through the desert. It would have been tough enough given the ¨road¨, but the trucks made it a nightmare. Basically, because of the trucks in front of you visibility was about 10 feet. Couldn´t see, couldn´t pass, and couldn´t breathe! By the time I came to actual pavement (more than an hour later) I looked like I had been dropped in a vat of talcum powder. Then it was a few more hours of more desert to get to Trujillo.
A Note on Cops
I have only had one experience on this trip with a cop actually trying to get a bribe from me. The conversation went something like this (and by the way, I wasn´t speeding... I knew that the cop was there and was following a truck doing exactly 60 kph):
- Cop: You were speeding
- Me: No I wasn´t. I was doing 60 kph just like the truck in front of me
- Cop: The speed limit is 45
- Me: No it´s not, I just saw the sign and it says 60
- Cop: There´s another sign that says 45 over there
- Me: That may be, but you had a big truck pulled over there blocking the sign
- Cop: I can confiscate your license until you pay the fine
- Me: That´s fine, but I wasn´t going any faster than allowed
- Cop: Well, give me some gas and I´ll let you go
- Me: I can´t, I only have enough gas to get to Trujillo
- Cop: There´s a gas station down the road. You can get more there.
- Me: I don´t have any more money. I need to go to an ATM in Trujillo
- Cop: Get the hell out of here.
It´s a game. Kind of like bargaining with the vendors. Most of the cops have been great, but occasionally you have to play the game with them. so far I´m up on points. Let´s hope it stays that way.
Next stop, Trujillo.