Peru

On a one-horse-power open ferry (Drive day 179: Dec 25th, 2003)

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If there’s one piece of advice I’d give future road trippers it would be to avoid driving in Bolivia on Christmas Day. The roads are lined with children begging for food and the custom is apparently to slow down and toss out bags of bread. The worst part is they don’t tear into the treats like kids should – they save it for later and keep flagging down vehicles. When we arrive at the ferry terminal to cross Lake Titicaca I am numb with sadness. Which I have to snap out of to process the fact that we are going to entrust our home-on-wheels to perhaps the least seaworthy vessel I have ever seen. Even my father didn’t try this route, but we’re here and there’s only one way across. We can’t sink on Christmas, right?

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

Copacabana, Bolivia (Drive Day 178: Dec 24th, 2003)

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The town’s name conjures up images of tropical drinks and beach umbrellas, but we have crossed into Bolivia and the most exotic part of it is a poncho museum. It’s Sunday so we could have the priests bless  our truck for good luck. But it is punishingly cold and dismally depressing. Kids without shoes peeing in the gutters, stoned Rastafarians selling hemp bracelets outside a cathedral lined with ill-gotten gold. Not where we plan to spend Christmas on the road.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

On the shores of Lake Titicaca (Drive day 177: Dec 23rd, 2003)

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It is clear we have long ago left the Sacred Valley. Even the names of the Peruvian towns we drive through are losing their loveliness. In one called Sicuani kids steal a little flag from the camper’s grill, we pay more in tolls to get through Puno than it costs in diesel, and crazed bicyclists in Juliaca try their best to induce heart attacks as they cut in front of us. We’re bone tired by the time we stop for the night in the lakeside town of Pomata – just in time for a quick round of photographs before we collapse.

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1223c.jpgFollow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

Hard sell and harder roads (Drive Day 176: Dec 22nd, 2003)

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We wake up in our camp spot outside another Incan site called Racqhi. A teenager has been waiting for us to open the door so he can guide us on a tour along the Inca trail. Which happens to pass through his uncle’s pottery studio, so we end up buying a vessel that the road ahead will surely bounce into bits. The best part? He agrees to take home some of the bags of veggies we had to buy in Urcos.

 

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

 

On to Urcos (Drive Day 175: Dec 21st, 2003)

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We stop at a market town to buy veggies for a curry and singlehandedly disrupt the culture and economy. The costumes worn by men and women are astounding but each time Gary lifts his lens we are met with turned backs and wagging fingers.

1221d.jpgGot it. So we load up on purple carrots, flowering Swiss chard and autumn-colored potatoes. But not a single merchant can make change. Nothing costs enough to add up to any denomination of paper currency. More fingers wag. Ladies fill our bags with things we cannot name, more than we can possibly consume before it wilts and wastes, and eventually seem satisfied with the transaction. This is a town out of place with time.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

 

The power of Pisac (Drive Day 174: Dec 20th, 2003)

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A kid we meet hiking up to the ruins above Pisac tells us this ancient site was much more populated than Machu Picchu ever was. Almost five thousand people once lived here and the stonework is as mind-blowing as any we’ve seen. Perfect trapezoid doorways into grassy courtyards with lookouts in every direction. Columns of blocks fitted together so perfectly it looks like one giant stone etched with lines to make it look constructed. But other than market day, tourists rarely make the trek to Pisac so what stands out most is the sound. Not human. All we hear as we hike are creaks and moans of eucalyptus tree trunks rubbing up against each other in the rustling wind.

 

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.

The Sacred Valley (Drive Day 173: Dec 19th, 2003)

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After the coldest night we’ve slept through so far, we spend the morning buying alpaca blankets from the family that guarded our camper while we explored Machu Picchu. This is when the ability to pack your house on top of your ride is hug-yourself lucky. We don’t have to race to catch a train, check out of a hotel at a certain time or stick to any kind of schedule in the Sacred Valley. Our bones ache from the altitude but long hikes work out the kinks. Besides, it’s hard to complain when you’re getting passed by old ladies carrying bundles of firewood on their backs with nothing more substantial than flipflops on their bundled feet.

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Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my teresabrucebooks.com website or here or here. Planning a road trip? Buy the audiobook here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa. Like travel anthologies? I’m in a brand new one called Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America which you can get here.