Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Navigators

As a general rule, houses with names are nicer than houses without names. There are exceptions, of course, like houses at my undergrad university. There, if a house had a name, there was little doubt it was a great place to visit and a less pleasant place to live.

But to the point: Alfredo's house, "The Navigators", is a very nice house. It's on the ocean, with white walls, and floor to ceiling windows. There's a pool and a basketball court. Sam and Nathan and I each had our own rooms, named the Buccaneers, the Corsairs, and Pirates, respectively.


We left Lima on Saturday, after one, after spending a morning on routine maintenance. On Friday, we had done a good bit of running round, locating small parts Nathan needed for his bike and various lubricants. There are some impressive bike shops in Lima, but none which are stocked like a good store at home. What's more, the all have a rather convoluted payment system. After this, we went to the home where my bike had been stored since the summer. We found it there, but with a flat rear tire and a dead battery. I have a slow leak from a nail, which has been in the tire since Columbia, at least. And somewhere in my electrical system is a small parasite.

I shall spare the details of our efforts at repair, except to note that we spent four hours on a sidewalk aided by a community security guard, a fish chef, and two other folks. The chef eventually transported Nathan to a store to buy me a new battery, which still required several push starts, but is now fine.

So, by Saturday afternoon we were out of the city and dodging other cars down the Pan-American. We stopped mid afternoon for ceviche by the ocean, and them headed south another 150 kms. When the PA started to veer away from the ocean, Sam pulled over so we could consult on how much farther we wanted to go, and whether we wanted to stay on the beach. At that point, three motocross riders came up from the shore. It was an impressive scene. We soon struck up a conversation with Alfredo, who told us about his house by the beach in Paracas. No sooner than this did he invite us to spend the evening at his house, The Navigators.

The kindness of strangers is never in short supply on these trips. This was no exception. Alfredo plied us - if ever the word was right it's right here - with the pisco that he makes and sells. It's something like his fifth or sixth biggest business. He was obviously well off, but had no airs about him. And if he was perhaps a bit lonely, he was certainly very proud of his country and happy to tell us about it. He was keen to see us happy. He was equally happy to take us for a ride in his boat the next morning, where we saw all manner of birds, except the penguins which were apparently about. And, most amusingly, he was in very good spirits when Sam was stung by a stingray and his servant set to extracting the venom with a suction device.

We left the navigators and Alfredo in very good spirits, and settled in for a great day of mountain riding and camping in a pasture. It was a place without a name, but still quite nice.

Sent from my iPad

Sent from my iPad

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