typical view of our drive today
Today we broke our distance record - 770 Kms in a single day! That may not seem like a lot for those of you in North America, but since we began in Colombia it seems like halfway to the moon!
Peru is a very different country than Colombia and Ecuador - it is not blessed with the temperate climate and fertile agricultural lands of these other countries, and therefore is economically disadvantaged.
We drove the entire 11.5 hours today through desert, with people just trying to eke out a basic living in these harsh conditions. Every once in a while, we would come upon a place with water - crops would be planted and the surrounding communities would be more prosperous.
The biggest issue, though, is garbage - I have never seen so much refuse strewn around as I have today - the entire desert was one big landfill!
This isn't really funny, unless you know Bob - he has always had a thing for order and cleanliness, so today drove him nuts! People were throwing garbage out of their car windows, there were piles of dirty diapers everywhere, and building rubble was piled up at the entrance and exit of every town with full plastic bags 10 feet high piled next to it... Every time we entered a town, Bob would get more and more frustrated with the piled up garbage - who would have known that he was an environmentalist at heart. David Suzuki eat your heart out.
We were also stopped by the Peruvian police 3 times today, once for over 15 minutes. The police and army presence has ramped up as we have headed south.
We reached the sketchy port town of Chimbote just before dark, as the military patrols were starting. We are staying in a gated community in a beautiful hotel (Hotel Brillia) and won't leave until the sun rises tomorrow, when we hope to make it to the desert oasis of Huacachina.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain