I drive 620km from Cusco to Nazca in one day. It took 9 1/ 2 hours. The road is definitely in the top 10 list. From Cusco to Abancay it is a little bit tedious because the road is very winding, but then it is another one of those motorcyclists dreams that came true. Along the Rio Labrama there are wide bends, almost no traffic and I have excellent weather. I let the bike run. It was an exhausting but excellent ride. In Nazca I stay in the same hostel as about five months before. Sometimes it is nice to come back to the same place after a longer time. You can see changes or things that have remained the same. The annex at the hostel is completed, the broken car is still in the same place outside on the street.
Today I set a distance of about 400km. I wanted to drive around / through Lima and stop somewhere behind on the ocean in a suburb or a small village.
Lima has 9 million inhabitants. I have mentioned several times, that I hate these big cities, because there are no traffic rules and everyone drives irresponsible. Unfortunately, the Pan-American Highway is a main artery that runs through the city. When approaching the city, there are already a lot of crazy drivers, mainly in luxury cars, German brands, BMW, Audi, Mercedes. They are overtaking with very high speed and squeeze through the traffic, often on the emergency lane.
In the poorer suburbs, there are thousands of buses, that stop in 2nd and 3rd lane and without even a glance in the rearview mirror enter the traffic again. I won’t start talking about taxis.
It is almost 4pm. I am in Puente Piedra, a suburb of Lima. It is only 10 to 20km to my destination.
I am between buses and trucks. Suddenly there is a car in front of me. It wanted to cross the Pan-American Highway and is standing with the rear part cross to the lane. I did not see it and it is too late to break. I slam hard against the rear of the car. Dazed I’m lying on the road. Quickly, a crowd formed around me. I want to get up, but was pressed down by the people. My left shoulder hurts, I can hardly move my arm.
In the cities there are special insurance officials who are almost on every corner. Apparently, there is plenty of work for them. They are on site immediately. After only 2 or 3 minutes police and ambulance arrived too. Two other travelers, a couple, who are there by accident, were taking care of me. She was talking to me in English, calming me down, he pushed the motorcycle to the side. I sat down in the ambulance.
The police gave me the address of the police station, where the motorcycle was brought. I took my bag and the most important things from the bike, then I was taken to the hospital.
The hospital is only 2 blocks away from the accident site. There I got dropped off in the ER in a wheelchair. My personal data got written down, then I had to wait. On my shoulder I could feel that the collarbone was broken. I waited for a while. One of the nurses urges at some point, that I get treated: One should finally take care of the foreigner or he will sit there until tomorrow. Next to me a drunken old man is snoring on one of the hospital beds. He started to breathe stertorously. The doctor took care of him, that he did not suffocate on his own vomit.
In the hospital I got only a minimal treatment – foreigner, no domestic insurance. My shoulder got x-rayed and it just showed what was clear – that my collarbone is broken. They gave me a piece of paper with something written on it. I should buy the bandage as written on the paper at an orthopedic shop and come back.
It is almost 8pm, I’m hurt, on the outskirts of Lima and they put me on the road. I asked if there is a reasonably good hotel close, they didn’t know.
I had no idea where I was and where I should go. Painfully I took of my motorcycle clothes and put on more comfy things. I packed the most necessary things in a small backpack. Since I was not able to carry all my stuff, I asked the police, if I could leave my things until the next day in the small police booth.
I knew that Kerstin, whom I met 2 days earlier in Ollantaytambo and which I met again in Cusco, was in Lima.
Additional to my shoulder, my left ribs and right wrist hurt too. They have not been X-rayed. Back in Austria it showed that a rib was broken too.
I was looking for an Internet cafe and asked Kerstin for help. She gave me the name of the hostel where she stayed, which was about 35 km away in the district of Miraflores. I took a taxi to go there. The hostel and the owners were extremely nice and I was glad, that I was not alone in one of the hotels in the outskirts.
The wonderful Kerstin remains at my side today, driving with me in old taxis and in very hot weather through the city. Even a hardened guy is sometimes happy when he is not alone.
We go to an orthopedic shop to buy a bandage, but we could not get the one I needed. I took the best I could get. We take a taxi to an orthopedic specialis who had a look at my problem. He gave us the address of another orthopedic shop, where I should get the proper bandage, but they had only size small available.
We go to the embassy. There I talk to an official. I wanted to know what I should talk care of, when talking to the police. Then we drive to Puente Piedra to the police. We wait quite a while for a translator, who does not show up. Eventually, the driver of the other vehicle was called.
After the whole family has arrived, we were sent out by the police officers to have a view on our vehicles and to have a chat.
This is the usual way here – the parties may settle the matter themselves. If they do, the case is closed.
We discuss a while about who is to blame. The main fault is on me, because I hit the other car.
The guy of the other car wanted to tell me, that he took care of the traffic rules. Thousands of drivers who don’t give a shit and he wanted to tell us, he did not do anything wrong. He wanted nearly 400 EUR for the repair of his vehicle. We agree at about 220 EUR – still too much. I did not have much choice. We could have gone the official way. But that would have last indefinitely.
In a small shop, a letter is written, that no further claims are made.
Back to the police station, they write a report with all the details and that we found an agreement. My bike and the vehicle of the other party were released.
Today I try to find someone to pick up my motorcycle from the police station and for a place to park it. I write to everyone I could find. Bart starts a call on Facebook, that an injured friend is stuck in Lima and needs help. Faizal from Malaysia wrote, he is in Lima and knows someone who could help. Faizal is on a world tour with two friends. They met Harald, when they took a break somewhere in Lima. Harald has a few motorcycles that he rents and he has a shop for motorcycle accessories in a shopping mall. With him, I got in contact.
Harald organized a company that picked up my bike from the police with a minibus and took it to Haralds garage.
I sort out things, leave a few things behind and pack what I want to take home. Harald takes me to his house and gives me a suitcase for my stuff.
He offered to organize the transport of my bike to Germany. Thus, my presence in Lima is not necessary, Harald needs a permission of an attorney, that he can ship the bike. He takes care of that too. Harald invited me too a motorcyclist meeting in the evening, where I also meet Faizal and his friends.
Those who visit Lima and stay only in the beautiful districts of Miraflores and San Isidro or in the historical center, did not see Lima. The accident and the many taxi journeys have led me through various districts.
Miraflores and San Isidro are the wealthiest neighborhoods in Lima. Situated near the sea, chic residential skyscrapers and restaurants, nice, clean parks and streets.
The outskirts are completely different. Thousands of buses and cars clog the streets, the sidewalks are full of people, it is noisy and often dirty. Shabby hotels, where you usually spend one or two hours, are sometimes lined up one next to the other.
In the afternoon, I got a call from Harald, that the permission from the attorney is ready and that there is a quote for the shipping. With an employee of Harald I walk to a lawyer’s office and sign the permission. Then we walk to Haralds motorcycle shop, where I pay for the shipping.
After everything is done, I call immediately the air ambulance in Austria. They book a flight for me, for the next day.
05.04. / 06.04.
I visit Harald in his shop to say goodbye. My flight is going at the evening.
It is my first long-haul flight in Business Class. I could get used to it. But I could have done without, if I just could continue traveling.
Next to me sits a Bolivian, who was flying to the international court in The Hague to discuss the situation in Venezuela. The political situation got pretty serious in Venezuela in the recent months.
I arrived in Vienna in the evening. I am back home.
07.04. until …
Torn out of my trip so quick, I did not have time to think about the close future. I have to get used to the new situation of being home again. The healing of my broken bones will take 4 to 5 weeks. Time to think.
Thank you for reading, Jürgen.
P. S. Stay tuned, I have not yet finished writing, there will be one or two more articles.