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    Day 975 – My Optics (UK)

    Trujillo -> Pacasmayo
    Distance (km) : 111
    Time on bike : 5h 15m
    Brutto time: 11.00 – 17.30
    Avg : 21.1 km/h
    Max.speed: 62.4
    Total (km) : 38.755

    Brazilian Dorico and his heavy-duty bike...

    The stretch of the Panamerican Hwy between Trujillo and Pacasmayo (110 km to the north) has been the scene of numerous attacks on longdistance cyclists over the past years. Last year, a fellow Dane, Eva Køngerskov, was the victim of such a nasty assault when 4 young guys in a motortaxi attacked her and took most of her valuable belongings (of which most was later recovered).

    Impossible to move this beast!

    Because of this – and because he loves his bike – Lucho, my host at the Casa de Ciclistas in Trujillo, has decided to come along with me and Brazilian cyclist Dorico on today’s ride to Pacasmayo.

    Lucho’s in his chatty mood and enlightens me with some fairly gruesome anecdotes from the assaults on cyclists of the past. He and his family has also been threatened physically and by telephone because he’s come to know the faces of some of the local gangsters and will do whatever it takes to see an end to the crime. He’s determined not to give up against these young highway criminals and is convinced (he might be right) that the local police near Paiján takes part of the banditry. I try to stifle my surprise when Lucho mentions his little handgun that he carries in his pocket today. Better safe than sorry, huh?

    Lunch break with Lucho and Dorico...

    The bike ride is an easy one. A strong tailwind pushes us northward through the desert-like landscape. One hour before Pacasmayo a crazy crosswind full of rolling desert sand hits us.
    It’s pretty terrible cycling, or as Lucho put it Es un baño de arena horrible! (It’s a horrible shower of sand). When we arrive in Pacasmayo, I’ve heard a lot of bandit stories and attacts but none have I seen. Luckily, it’s normally like that.

    Though I do believe that this area is a high-risk spot for the often defenseless cyclist (unless Lucho’s by your side 😉 ), I still generally refuse to let what I hear, what other people have heard or what they think they used to know etc. draw my picture of the world. I feel that I’m in a situation (for which I’m highly grateful) where I don’t need to let dubious stories, rumour, reputation, and other second-hand reports mould my opinion and perception of the world and its people.

    Lucho fighting the sandstorm...

    I’ve seen and experienced enough places and faces to create my own personal optics through which I see the world. And tell you what, the view through my optics, created primarily by first-hand encounters at eye level, is almost always less dramatic, more beautiful and balanced compared to the monochrome, politically biased, driven-by-sensationalism, and media-created optics that (sadly) too many people view the world through. Enough said.

    Sandy crosswind across the desert north of Trujillo...

    In Pacasmayo we’re met by Lucho’s cycling friend Juan who lets Dorico and I stay for the night in his house where he lives with his wife Anna Cruz and their cute and well mannered daughter Lucia (6). It’s goodbye to Lucho who’s been a great host for 9 nights in Trujillo. The tears in his eyes after a few goodbye-hugs in the street tell of the sensitive social fabric of his. Such a good man. Thanks for all, Lucho and Aracelli!

    With my host for the night, Juan (left) and Dorico (right) in Pacasmayo, Peru...

    At night we all share heaps of stories in the living room while listening to Juan’s latin rock/pop collection on the stereo, the proudness of the house.

    Me, lovely Lucia, and Brazilian cyclist Dorico. Pacasmayo, Peru.

    Later, as I lie on my bed for the night (8 square couch cushions on the living room floor), I remind myself of the wonders of staying with random strangers – something I haven’t practized much lately, mainly because a private bed for the night (here in Peru) at just 3-6 USD often seems very tempting after a long day in the saddle when my need to chat and socialize is infinite.

    On this day..

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    One Response to “Day 975 – My Optics (UK)”

    1. carolyne Says:

      It’s funny you should talk about not letting the fear & negativity of the world freeze you, or colour your view of what’s possible. We were talking about just this very thing last night at dinner with some friends & 3 couchsurfers currently staying with me.
      I am happy to hear you are safe & making connections with lovely people. Maybe I’m naive, but I think that a lot of what you experience has to do with your expectations & openness. So I think that you are bound to have an abundance of positive experiences 🙂

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