The scorching Nasca sun rose over a new chapter in our journey, we were out of the mountains and back in the deserts, back with the Ocean and back with the roaring Pan-American. We would soon re-join the highway North and aim to make good time through the flat roads but first we had to explore what Nasca was famous for.

Evidently put here by an ancient civilization to communicate with cartoon spacemen, my guess is George Jetson.

Baffling Scientists and scholars for decades the Nasca lines are enormous drawings in the sand, some of animals such as a spider and a monkey and others simply geometric shapes. Many different theories surround their existence from religious belief to alien communication. They were not discovered until the worldwide use of the aircraft in the 1930’s and so we took to the skies to see for ourselves.

The Hummingbird

The Spider

The Monkey

After hanging out in Nasca with Jeroan and Melanie for a couple of days we once again hit the road. Back down closer to sea level the bikes were performing much better, the road was far improved and the chill of altitude was long gone. The only thing that seemed to suffer was my ass, which after 400km’s of punishment longed for a slow going mountain road.

Not long before we reached the Peruvian capital of Lima, the welcoming sight of the ocean appeared off our left shoulders, crashing off the desert shoreline. We had not seen it since Chile when we had climbed out of Antofagasta and we had both missed it.

Surrendering to our own ignorance we once again followed a taxi into the heart of the city and the upscale district of Miraflores. The city instantly dispelled my pre-conception of it as a squalled ghetto, as we passed shiny new sky scrapers it became more reminiscent of Los Angeles than anywhere else. Unoriginally we checked into another Loki hostel and kicked back with Jeroan and Melanie for another couple of days.

On the morning we came to leave the Lima Loki, Franklin managed to get himself into a spot of bother. As I began ferrying our gear down to the bikes, taking on that daily routine of securely strapping everything into my panniers I couldn’t help but notice that Frank had disappeared. He had last been seen with a rather rotund Canadian girl and knowing Frank by now, I figured that he wouldn’t be long and so I continued packing. Just as I finished strapping the last bag onto Franks bike he appeared in the doorway, looking uncharacteristically shaken, and produced one of my favourite Frank quotes of all time… “Hey man, Let’s get out of this hostel, I just smashed the wash basin with that fat girls ass.”

With a little added urgency we left Lima and disappeared into the morning mist that had descended upon the desert coastline like a low budget horror movie. Happy that we weren’t being followed by angry hostel staff or disgruntled Canadians we crept through the blinding mist until the midday sun burned it off and we could once again crank the throttle.

These little guys were playing by the road side and were offered to us for free by their owners. It was tempting not to stuff just one little guy in my jacket but thats no life for a playful pup.

The Pan-American was not all perfect, it brought with it a gauntlet of cops, all expert gringo spotters and all hungry for bribes. Time and time again we were waved over and shaken down. Most accepted our feigned ignorance and apparent empty pockets but more than once passports were confiscated and even pistols suggestively tapped. This left no other solution than an “Otre solution” a backhand of 200 Soles (about £50) for the pair of us to go free, the obligatory blue eyed tax was becoming annoying. Frank even suggested slyly off’ing the next cop that shook us down, I never knew if he was joking or not.

This guy was sat at the road side just hangin' out with his shorts pulled down looking pretty depressed. Never one to pass up an opportunity to laugh at another's misfortune, Frank forced me to take this photo.

We turned off the Pan-American and headed for the city of Huarez, our destination. Located somewhat inland toward the mountains, it was the gateway to another highly acclaimed motorcycle ride, The Canyon Del Plato. Leaving sunny desert shoreline behind we climbed into rainy mountainous highland and were soon drenched but happy, as amidst the rain lay some stunning scenery. The evening closed in just as we pulled into Huarez, ignoring a cop at the roadside waving his arms, our new found tactic of gringo survival. It had been a tough haul to get there but if all went well, the next day would prove to be worth it.

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