Jan. 19, 2015
I thought getting stuck behind a cart full of plants was a problem. Ha ha ha ha ha. It was a ten hour day in the end, but so jam-packed with things to see and talk about that it wasn’t bad at all.
We lost some time on the way to Camana when traffic was stopped dead on a mountainside by a woman swathed head to toe in bright orange. We needed to wait a half hour so that the stripes on the road could be repainted. On the bright side, I pulled ahead of about 20 trucks and their disgruntled drivers to get up to the front to find out what was going on. In Peru, women are seen to be the best enforcers, they direct traffic, hand out parking fines, and manage road blocks. Women are considered more resistant to bribes than men.
We ate lunch while standing around, stretched our legs and finally got going again after we watched all the traffic going downhill let through first–despite there being two lanes. After that we set off, to find that the painting team had probably painted 500 yards of stripes on the road during the better part of an hour when all traffic was stopped.
Meanwhile, we decided to try and get to Arequipa with a broken thermostat in the car, because car repair is difficult late on a Sunday afternoon in Nazca. The gauge swung up and down without much reference to speed, use of A/C or gear ratio, though we turned off the A/C and opened the windows when the thermostat went into the red zone periodically. As we neared Arequipa (2,000 m) the air cooled off quite a bit, though the car did not, but we made it, and a mechanic that the front desk found for us came by the hotel at 3:30 pm today (now Tues) to make the repair. He replaced the thermostat (original to the vehicle in 2002), replaced the radiator cap and tightened the fan belts, for $70 including parts.