Saturday, January 19, 2013


Day 94 (January 17, 2013)
Arequipa, Peru
Day's Ride: 5 Miles, more or less....

Just thought I would share a picture of last nights meal:

I don't know why, but McDonald's inspires some huge cravings for me down here. I wouldn't touch the stuff back home. However, after riding all day yesterday and eating only a banana and a few cookies; two Big Macs, a large fry, a large coke, and a slice of chocolate cake really hit the spot.

In any event, moving on to today's food pictures, here's breakfast:

French fries, a fried egg, a sausage wrapped in bacon, a slice of bread, and a couple of black coffees. As you can see, I'm striving to eat as healthily as possible.

After increasing my risk of heart disease, I hunted down an address for Andes Motos, a motorcycle rental shop here in Arequipa which was purported to be renting XR650L's. Goggle maps really doesn't work so hot down here, so eventually I ended up calling the owner, Felipe, on the phone in the Hostel. He didn't speak very good English, but combined with my Spanish it was enough to figure out that he would meet me at a bridge a few miles outside of town and guide me to his shop.

I got on the bike and blasted out to the 'burbs and sure enough, there was Felipe waiting for me on his Yamaha. We headed back to his house, which is also where he runs his business.

I'm just going to throw this out before I continue, Felipe is the freaking man! Right off the bat I told him of my problems with the broken stud, and he immediately went over to one of his XR400's and started tearing a stud out of the front fork to give to me!

We then got to work trying to extract my broken stud. I tried vice grips, no joy. Next, I used a hacksaw to cut a notch for a screwdriver; once again, no joy. Felipe recommended that I take it over to his mechanic Oscar who he claimed would be able to extract it right away.

Felipe and I started talking and somehow the conversation turned to pistols. He showed me his Colt 1902 in .38.

What a beautiful weapon! It has a six inch slide, is well oiled, and looks serviceable. The only reason that this weapon is legal in Peru is that it's over 100 years old and is considered an antique. I asked him if he ever got to shoot it, but he told me that he couldn't get ammo for it. What a shame.

We got back to bike stuff and I told him about needing another front sprocket. He ran back into his garage and came out with a 15 tooth front sprocket. I then told him I needed to find a 21 inch inner tube for my front tire, and he disappeared into his garage again, then reappeared with a brand new Pirrelli tube. I asked him how much he wanted for the stud, the sprocket, and the tube, and he just smiled and told me that it was free! I was blown away!

The best part of this trip has been the people that I've met, and Felipe is definitely one of those people! What a guy!

He took me around and showed me some of the bikes that he rents. He's got a few XR400's:

A 2009 XR650L with the 5.8 gallon Acerbis fuel tank and only 3,500 km on the odometer:

And, the most badass 650 of them all, the XR650R:

He called this bike his girlfriend; it was pristine!

I said my goodbyes and got a picture with Filipe:

We then threw his son up on my bike and got some pictures.

I thanked Filipe profusely for his help, and after much insisting, I finally managed to make him accept 50 Soles as a small token of my gratitude.

After leaving Filipe's house, I navigated across town to Oscar's shop and we got down to the nasty business of removing that broken stud.

Vice grips still weren't working, so we moved on to bigger and better things....

After grinding some flat spots on the stud, we were able to get some purchase and pull it out.

I gave Oscar some Soles and had him sign my tank.

By this time it was about noon and I still had half the day to see Arequipa, so I headed back to the Hostel to stash my bike. On my way, I found that the prep school that I had started up all those years ago was up and running in multiple locations throughout Peru:

I spent the rest of the day exploring downtown Arequipa. It's a beautiful place. They call it the white city due to all of the volcanic stone called "sillar" that is used to construct the buildings. Everywhere you go there are beautiful, colonial style stone buildings.

This is the Balisica Cathedral in the main plaza, "Plaza de Armas":

There are tons of convents, old Churches, and historical buildings interspersed throughout the blocks surrounding the plaza. Here's some shots:

I finished off the day by visiting a local museum, "Museo Sactuarios Andinos", where they display Juanita, the Ice Princess. Juanita was an Incan girl sacrificed to the Incan gods over 500 years ago. What makes her so interesting is that she was sacrificed on top of a 21,000 foot volcano whose glacial coverings have almost perfectly preserved her body and clothing. It's incredible that the Incans could climb that high, much less perform ritual sacrifices at that altitude. Juanita was discovered in 1995 when a nearby eruption caused the glaciers to melt and exposed her tomb as well as several others.

Photography wasn't allowed, but you can google some images if you like. Juanita wasn't on display, but they had another of the sacrificial victims on display in side of a double sealed, refrigerated glass box which is kept at -20 degrees Celsius year round to preserve the mummy. It was incredible and morbidly fascinating. The bodies are so well preserved that you can still see wrinkles in the skin. It's a little bit creepy.

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