Trans Andes Amazon Journey by the New Bohemians

By Bob and Claire Rogers

We leave Huaraz northbound eventually to Cajamarca, in hopefully less than two weeks, probably our next usable Internet. We hope to catch a large agricultural fair there. The route will stay high in the Andes, but we don’t see any passes as high as we had in Tibet. Beyond Cajamarca we will look for more pre-Inca ruins on the edge of Amazonia.

Claire is over her cold, and I hope I am getting over my respiratory thing that knocked me for several days. We had two full days of acclimatizing in Huaraz at 3,000 meters elevation, and don’t expect to over much more than 4,000 meters. If Zippy has enough gears, and the Captain has enough shoulder strength to wrestle his long wheelbase, it could be more fun than work. We’ll see.

We expected it to be much easier to manage in Spanish than in the Asian languages. Claire says she thinks she is getting through to people here in her limited, and growing, Spanish, but she seldom understands what they say back to her. They seem to just talk louder and more incessantly no matter how many times you say “no entiendo.” I could help some in Asia with pantomime, but they don’t seem to have a similar body language basis, or just look at me like I’m un loco gringo. Often we think we have understood someone, only to find what we thought they said doesn’t match what we see. They are particularly bad at judging, or communicating distances. We asked several people the kilometers to the next village, by name, and got answers from five to 22 kilometers. Eleven was the correct answer.

We found the same for elevations. Maybe it is because we use muscle power so much, but we and most of our friends, know the elevations of where they live in Tucson and all the surrounds. Most people here don’t seem to know, or have incorrect information. Our map is also not very clear, again. Claire spends lots of time gathering information, or trying to, about the road ahead, and it is difficult. We often get the time it would take by bus, which varies wildly depending on the size and power of the vehicle, and people’s personal concept of time.

Dogs have been more of a problem here, but so far we find that if we stop and pick up rocks, the dogs will falter. However, getting a heavily loaded tandem stopped and safely off the road while a pack of dogs is gaining on you is a little intimidating. From past experience, we know to be more concerned about the hounding dogs that are not barking than those that are. Lacking a wrist-rocket, Claire’s been practicing her aim with an oversized rubber band (an item which, while packing, she couldn’t justify but felt she might need “for something”).  Our other problem with dogs happened when a scraggly cur lingered too close while we were talking to someone and all his fleas jumped onto us, mainly Bob. Fortunately, they abandoned us soon after, but we still, days later, have red marks and we hope those don’t get infected.

Dogs are not an issue in most of Asia. They eat them.

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