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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

Road to La Merced

PERU | Sunday, 19 July 2009 | Views [3305]

Take one Toyota 4WD double cab ute, put road tyres on it, add 2 intrepid kiwi nomads to the back tray where there are planks for seats and drive around the small town of Pasco for an hour at 3am searching for passengers.

When the front cab has a couple and child and 3 adults as well as the driver and the tray has 10 adults and 4 fracious children, luggage piled high on top of the cab and bags of produce covering the tray floor, call it half full and prepare to leave town. Oh no, one more stop - to tie on 2 bedheads to one side of the tray and the bedrails to the other, and wait a minute, don't forget the hens in a wood slat box each tied on the outside of each side at the back. Now we are ready to head into the salva (bush/forest/jungle).

Imagine a bush road similar to the ones that go up to the cellphone sites that Kent used to service, imagine greenery similar to the bush west of Auckland on scenic drive, multiply heights and distance by 10. Imagine sitting on a plank in the dark hanging onto and leaning against a pipe frame which surrounds and covers the back tray, riding along a rough dirt road filled with potholes, huge deep ones at times waist deep (Kents waist) and often filled with water or sloppy mud. The ute must be driven on this road only in 2WD to be changed to 4WD for 2 minutes when on one steep muddy incline the only direction the vehicle wanted to go was sideways and the only other choices were into the bush on one side or a hole on the other and behind was another vehicle.


Shortly after dawn the ute got a flat tyre, the tyre was changed quickly and efficiently for a cross country tyre. Now feeling that much safer (not) with one road tyre and one off road tyre on the front our kiwi nomads feel sufficiently emboldened to stand on the back, all the better to leap off if the ute goes offroad into a ravine, only kidding. On route you have to imagine hills covered in forest, passing waterfalls, fording a dozen rivers and even more streams, long lonely roads with a small wooden house now and then with small cute grubby children playing outside, suddenly round  corner a pile of huge pumpkins beside the road, big twin rear axle trucks that thankfully had to pass in the valley where there was room to park half in the bush as they passed and not on the highroads, vistas out over never ending forested valleys... You have to imagine these things as there aren't many photos, we were too busy standing up and hanging on with 2 hands!

at 11am we found ourselves up the Cacazu without a paddle, seriously we stopped in Cacazu for breakfast and realised we had another 4 hours to go! We had only paid to Cacazu as we didn't know if we could handle the whole trip or not but at Cacazu we were up for it so carried on. By the time we made La Merced at 3pm we were totally worn out, shattered physically with sore arms and knees and butts, but invigorated with the adventure. We got a nice room opposite the bus terminal in Hospedaje Joelito with baño and tv (25s), into the shower and washed hair, clothes and everything, ate in the market and crashed for the night.

Best bit: Carol - Hanging off the back, can't do that in NZ, Kent  - Farting freely!


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