Peru: Altitude and Adrenaline

Peru: Altitude and Adrenaline

I squinted my eyes in disbelief. Clouds had started to gather, crowding the sky like lumbering beasts. On a grinding wheel of terror, a whole city’s worth of boneheadedness came crashing down like a shelf full of shoes, all around my head at once. Initially, Lima’s bustling Miraflores district appeared within my capability. Naively, I judged the traffic to be no more demanding than La Paz in Mexico or Buenos Aires in Argentina, feeling thankful to the city angels that my prayers had been answered. Surviving those two cities in the saddle was hellish enough.

I’d been dreading Lima’s loony roads for weeks; fear had waited in the dark recesses of my mind, ready to pounce. Or was I merely adapting to the drivers of South America’s urban sprawl, where there were zero driving standards? My fears weren’t unfounded. The notorious road users of downtown Lima were off-the-charts moronic, leaving the situation nails-in-the-coffin hopeless. I’d never honked my horn as frequently—or for so long—than when venturing eight miles under the night sky from the BMW Motorrad garage to our accommodation.

Motorcycles & Gear

2008 BMW F 800 GS
2001 BMW F 650 GS

Helmets: Touratech, Shark
Jackets & Pants: BMW Rallye, Hein Gericke Womens
Boots: Sidi GORE-TEX Adventure Boots
Gloves: Gerbing 12V Hero, 12V Vanguards

A shaft of anger opened up inside me, and I started to work myself up into a whirling froth. The brewing road rage jostled with worry, but both nipped at my belly as people shunted past me in their two-ton people carriers. Back off, buster—stop trying your damnedest to sandwich me, I beg you! I swerved around the grotesque remains of an unfortunate dog. Faltering, I squeezed my eyes shut to bolster my courage. All over my brain, lights flickered on, doors creaking open. Some of those doors led directly to our lodging, but there was also the voice of Pearl, my motorcycle, “Keep going—you’ve not escaped the bus butties or four-wheel-drive focaccias just yet.”