The peruvian part of the trip started
easy, but soon turned into a nightmare. Yesterday the team was cauaght in
the dessert and kept prison the whole day by local rebels who played around
with us like pets. They blocked the roads and each time we had found another
way, or even digged ourselves out, they made another roadblock!! In this way
we were circling in the dessert, surrounded by the hugh mountains: At the
end of the day we returned to our starting point of that day and though our
tachos said 500 km, we had only made 100 km of the Panamerican distance. The
real report you can read here
Temperature + 19 till + 28 degrees Celsius 600 km
We started the day with a boatride across the Pacific Ocean at 08.00 am. To visit the islands and view the beautiful wildlife. We could enjoy the awakening of large colonies of birds and sea-elephants. Even the penguins had discovered this little "Court of Eden" Back at the hotel we changed our tyres (front to the back and back to the front) and after a quick lunch we left at around 01.00 pm. We managed to do
600 km and at 08.00 pm. We found a hotel in Camanja. After dinner with "Willy's Pollo" we went to bed to prepare ourselves for a long ride the next morning to reach Chili. This should be possible thanks to the good road-conditions.
Temperature + 20 till + 32 degrees Celsius 525 km
Focussed to enter Chili this day we left at 06.45 am. Ready to hit the road again.
Warned by local people about the instable situation in Bolivia, we decided to enter into Chili direct via Peru. A pitty because now we should miss our visit to the large Titicaca lake and to the worlds highest situated city: La Paz the capital of Bolivia.
The roads were good and after a couple of hours driving we saw large rows of trucks parked alongside the road. The drivers were giving us "no-go" signals, but as innovative Dutchmen we ignored these. Suddenly we saw rocks on the road and we passed these driving slowly. The amounts of rocks became larger and larger and the few cars that drove the opposite way all waved to us to go back! We stopped one of these cars and the driver told us that local rebels had blocked the road completely and that trying to get trough anyway, would make them mad and most probably would cause violent reactions. The broken front wind shields on the road were the silent whitnesses of his story. Next to him sat a young woman, wet. She told us, she had escaped from the rebels by runnig through the river. Her wet clothes made her story to sound realistic. Later on we found out through talking with local people and via information on internet that this road-block-action was the last resort for the local people to protest against the fact that the industry absorbed almost the entire available capacity of quality water. Leaving them with polution problems and a shortage of quality drinking water for their daily usage. The road blocks were already going on for 9 days and nobody could tell us when these blocades would be taken away. Some of the local people felt sorry for us and tried to help us out. Several times we found men prepared to guide us in this middle of nowhere. Our cars with their tortured m&s tyres still on had absolutely no grip on the desert sand and we digged ourselves in. Staying cool we managed to get all the cars safely on the sandy tracks again. The tough members of the rebels however, didn't agree with their opinion and aid given to us.
So each time we managed to find a way out, or digged ourselves out, they made new road-blocks again. It looked like a cat and mouse game that we were loosing. We simply couldn't get out although we saw the road we wanted to follow in front of us,. A real Tantalus torture. When the support of another local hero brought our cars from the road and completely blocked in the middle of nowhere we decided to "act like a tree and leave" because within 1.5 hours it should be dark and we absolutely didn't want to end up blocked in the desert during the night. Despite our slicks but thanks to the low gearing and our previous of the road lessons we managed to get our cars running again and after 1 hour we were on the paved roads again, escaped from the desert. So at the end of the day we had no other choice then to go back, and to take a complete different route. We had been driven for more than 10 hours doing 525 km of which almost 400 km first trying to find our way but later trying to escape from the desert and the rebels. In the dark we arrived in Arequipa. A dark industry city with all houses, shops, hotels, etc. protected by big gates. A short walk across the street was highly not recommended. Together with a body guard from the hotel it was allowed and no Russian roulette.
Temperature +17 till + 29 degrees Celsius 563 km
The previous day lost in the desert we had to get out of Peru today. We decided to drive to the North East band to try the Bolivian route. Despite the earlier mentioned warning about Bolivia and the extra border-crossing this would mean, we were all the opinion that this should be our only way out of Peru. The scenery was breathtaking, so also found one of the tyres of Einsteins car that decided to push all the air out. The fourth flat tyre so far. Changing the wheel the car almost glided away from its krick because the sandy ground didn't offer enough grip to lift the 2.5 ton heavy Cayenne. But with all our muscle power combined - except the tortured muscles from Bert - the
wheel could be changed. Only not with the same tyre, so now Einstein is driving on three Bridgestones combined with a Continental M&S tyre on the rear left. No time to realize all this, the long and curvy road proved that the same high speeds also in the curves wasn't a problem at all! So we don't understand all the panic back home about the exclusive use of tyres qualified by Porsche for their cars. New problems arose. La Paz known as worlds highest situated city at 3.800 m above sea-level demanded her toll. Four members of our team were hit by the "High sickness" causing pression in the head, with an overall feeling of weakness and a bad feeling in their stomach. Throwing up was for some the only solution to get some relief. The other die hards had no such symptoms at all. Driving along the beautiful large Titicaca lake we passed the Peruvian border and entered into Bolivia. Passing the border and getting the cars through customs was a smooth piece of cake. Rob was misleaded by some little bandits who approached him and said that he only had to pay $20 for the five cars and that should be it! They made some notes on a blanc piece of paper, cashed their "import duties" and disappeared. Proudly Rob informed us that he had already taken care for the import part of the border-crossing. By now you all know that the hight caused pression on the head, so we all think that Rob also was hit by this "High sickness" and that his brains didn't function at 100% anymore. There were lots of military around and biased by the information from Mario we didn't feel comfortable.
We drove to La Paz and the view of th millions of lights below us - entering this big city - was impressing and hardly to describe. We asked a taxi driver to guide us to the Hilton. We started our descend into La Paz and following our local hero we entered parts of La Paz, we all suspected not to be the typical area where normally you will find the five star hotels. The roads became worse and darker and we had to drive slowly in order not to hit the numerous people on the road. We drove across a large market place and suddenly we were in front of our hotel. We read the signs and we saw a two star hotel named: Milton Hotel!! We saw the funny side of this mistake, changed our guide and ended in the best place in town called Hotel Europa.
Temperature +18 till + 33 degrees Celsius 900 km
Having studied the map we decided to take a longer route through Bolivia, then the official Panamericana route from our book. At 10.00 am. We left La Paz and we had to climb to approximately 5.500 metres. Imagine, driving on roads higher then the Mont Blanc!! Temperature went down till a surprisingly high + 6 degrees Celsius and there was no snow. Murphy was of course still accompanying us and the road changed into an unpaved trial of sand and stones. Road signs became extraordinary and at 02.00 pm. We were as good as lost in the middle of nowhere again. Our Peru adventure still fresh in our memory we decided to go back almost till La Paz again and take the route from our Panamericana book. Another waist of 600 km. All we wanted was to get as quickly as possible out of Bolivia with its threatening atmosphere. But the luck had not left us completely. In a little town, waiting for a red light Einstein saw that the car of Maxi in front of him was developing a flat tyre at the rear left. Believe it or not but all this happened in front of a tyre repair shop. Not the most sophisticated one but who cared. With the sound of thunderstorms and beautiful lightening effects darkness felt already. We changed tyres that we could throw away immediately because some of them were seriously damaged with holes till the steel part! At 10.30 pm. we reached the border with Chili and got our next surprise.
The border was closed! Staying there and sleep in our cars was our only option and so we did. Although we all had comfortable chairs, we couldn't put them in the flat sleep position, because our rear seats were fully packed with our luggage and purchases we had made during our trip. Temperature went quickly down till -7 degrees Celsius.
But in some way we all managed to get some sleep.
Temperature -2 till + 29 degrees Celsius 993 km
Only at 08.00 am. the border opened and we could enter into Chili The roads were fine the snow topped mountains were impressing and with great enthusiasm we started our descend from 4.500 metres into the valley. Drifting with high speeds through the numerous curves we made a real party out of this. The rest of the day went smoothly as of the invisible powers also were the opinion that we deserved some luck again as well. The scenery started beautiful and impressive but later on changed into a desert with dark brown till black sandy mountains. Before reaching Antofagasta we passed worlds largest copper mine.
Temperature + 17 till + 28 degrees Celsius 912 km
Another smooth day with one exciting narrow escape for the Einstein family. Driving in the desert with the sun opposite shining the asphalt road seemed to disappear into the sky in front of us. Borrowing and difficult to stay concentrated all the time. With mrs. Einstein sleeping as a rose Einstein got on the left lane without noticing it. As through a miracle he just in time saw the car opposite him. This car obviously hadn't noticed Einstein as well! Einstein's "Protection Angel" made him react at the very last moment and so a frontal collission was avoided, giving the cars behind Einstein an indescribable thrilling experience. With enough adrenaline for the rest of the week we safely reached La Sarena where we had a beer with a group of Harley Davidson motorbikers from Santago de Chili and later on a good diner on the beach.
Temperature + 12 till + 28 degrees Celsius 487 km
A sad day because we had to say good-bye to Rob and Bert who were scheduled to take a plane back home from Santago de Chili. That's why we left pretty early at 06.30 am. Around 11.00 am. We were at the airport. This will leave us with 8 team members meaning that Rachelle and Winnibald each will have to drive their cars alone to our destination Ushuaia. We will miss Rob and his card reading experience. As our senior team member he often took the lead and we are thankfull to him that we could relax while he was figuring out next day's way to go. Rob we feel sorry about your leave and we all thank you for your contribution to the success of our adventure.
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