[Sally 22.5.2016] So, we have time to kill while my wrist heals. We have a few admin type things to do like chasing quotes for shipping the bikes; planning how best to use this time; filling in the insurance claim; checkups at the hospital, etc etc. But we have plenty of time just to be tourists in this capital city, kick back and relax for a few weeks.
So at the risk of it being very dull and just showing you some holiday snaps, I'll try and keep the site-seeing brief. There are, after all, only so many ancient ruins one can stomach and I'm not sure even Robin Williams could make them entertaining.
The top attraction in Lima is the Larco Museum, which provides an overview of 4,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history.
Another hospital checkup comes around. It's for 11:30 and we arrive a bit early so go to buy some water in the cafe which is close my Dr's rooms. We pass him in the corridor briefly on the way to the cafe. When I come back to check in with his secretary, she's not there and I'm told neither is the Dr - he's on an emergency at his other clinic and to come back at 3pm. "But I've just seen him". "No you haven't he's not here". "I have". "No you haven't". "I have". "No you haven't". I give up. This is a very badly run clinic to me and it's supposed to be the best hospital in Peru. Anyway we fill the time by visiting an ancient ruin just 20 minutes walk away.
Huaca Pucllana is mainly a pyramid built as a ceremonial and administrative center for the Lima Culture who reigned between the years of 200AD and 700AD, before being superceded by the Wari culture. We're lucky - there's another great restaurant attached so we have another lovely lunch. It feels like we're on holiday!
Back at hopeless hospital central, I wait for another 2 hours before I see the Dr. My wrist is healing OK. Come back in 2 weeks and he'll change the plaster cast. I'm really looking forward to having the cast changed.
Omar's come through with a couple of shipping quotes to Panama and Los Angeles from Orbecargo, a US cargo company with agents in Lima. USD1200 total for both bikes to Panama taking 11 days, and USD1200 total for both bikes to LA taking 18 days. These are great prices - a lot cheaper than USD5000 for each bike to air freight. We decide to ship the bikes to LA and visit Panama, Cuba and Mexico while they are sea, and seek out an orthopaedic specialist in LA to finish off my wrist. They have ships sailing to LA every 2 weeks, and we plan to ship them on 5th June. We will need professional help with the import process at LA so I make contact with the Horizons Unlimited (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/) community in LA to see if they can recommend any import agents. I get a fast response from a shipping agent at Schumacher Cargo Logistics, LA.
And we hit our first obstacle! Schumacher Cargo Logistics tells us we need approval from the Environmental Protection Agency in the US to import our bikes - Ooops that was news to us. It's easy enough to apply for, and free, but the approval will take up to 21 days and the bikes can't leave Peru before we get approval. So that immediately changes our plans - we can't ship the bikes on 5th June after all.
So back to sight-seeing ... we've got 3 weeks to kill before the EPA approval letters arrive.
This time - wait for it - drum roll ...... we go on a bus tour - gasp shock horror! But it's the easiest way to see Pachacamac - another major Inca center, just south of Lima. This temple site is considered a powerful “magnetic” center by the Peruvian government, and has been studied by NASA engineers who deemed it one of several important worldwide solar temples exhibiting an unusual energy signature.
We haven't seen the big smoke yet, so we brave it and venture to one of the main city plazas, Plaza de Aramas.
So, now for some more gore ... another checkup at the hospital comes around and on this one he has promised he will change the cast. I can't wait, this one feels like it's strangling my arm. Now, I know he's pinned my wrist fracture together, but it's not quite how Sally's world imagined them to be. I had a seriously big "eeeewwww" moment when he uncovered them.
The biggest bonus was that an action man arm came with the new cast. The down side? The new cast is not all I'd dreamed it would be and the blinking pins dig in constantly. I wouldn't call it pain, but it's not a day at a spa either. The good news is it's healing as he expected and I can have the pins removed in three weeks. I won't bore you with the teeth pulling exercise that comes with trying to get medical reports from him and his useless secretary.
Time to move from this very noisy apartment. It's just down the road 800m, but it's still a hassle with me not being able to ride yet and Jeff has to move both bikes. I go on ahead in a taxi by about 1 hour, settle in and sort out access to the garage so Jeff can just ride in. I'm just about put my feet up and read my book for a bit when Jeff calls with a panic phone call. "I've lost my bag with all of my documentation in it - it fell off the back of the bike along Av 28 de Julio somewhere.". Holy Cow! I go to help him look and ask street corner vendors and building security guards all along the road. The extent of how much documentation is lost doesn't sink in for a bit.... He's lost his British and Australian passports; his Peru immigration card; Bike registration for both bikes; Insurance certificates for both bikes; Peru Import permits for both bikes; his wallet with Visa and Mastercard cards; his bike keys; International Driver's licence; and perhaps the worst of all, the Carnet de Passage for his bike. The identity theft implications don't bear thinking about. We have a frantic walk up and down this busy road but no luck. We speak to the Miraflores Seguridad Cuidadana, the local tourist security. They radio their central control and the one on the motorbike rides up and down to look. Eventually one of their cars pulls up and they tell us to get in. We do. We've no idea where they're taking us! After about 10 minutes they drop us off at the Police Station, where we can report it officially for all the bureaucracy that will inevitably come. We are led into the tourist police office and a very friendly officer asks us where we are from. "Australia" we say. The next thing we know he's blasting out "Back in Black" by AC/DC on his computer.
He tells us to come back in about 2 hours, in which time Jeff moves both bikes over and I contact the British Embassy and make an appointment for tomorrow morning. Jeff reduces the daily withdrawal limit on his cards. Then we go back to pick up the police report, which takes another couple of hours. By the time we've finished it's 8pm and we're pooped. We head straight to a nice restaurant at Larcomar and have a couple of stiff pisco sours over dinner - there's nothing more we can do today.
The next day, Jeff wakes up to incredible news. The Australian Embassy have tracked him down and sent an email to say a local man has handed in his passports and his bag. We can't believe it! We're still not quite sure if everything will be in the bag, so of course we'r eager to get over there. As luck would have it the embassy is five minutes' walk around the corner. Everything is still in the bag and our relief is palpable. I feel like crying. And they say Lima is a danegrous cut throat city? We walk around to the Miraflores Seguridad Cuidadana and let them know. The guy is really happy for us and radio's the news in.
More good news - we receive our approval letters from the EPA by email. It took 17 days from when we submitted the application by email. So now we can plan the shipping. During this wait period we explored the option of shipping to Vancouver as we want to go to Oregon first before heading to Las Vegas. Procycle are in Oregon and we want to buy and fit 'stabilizers' for the bikes to dampen the steering to help prevent tank slappers. Whereas Orbecargo were quite responsive in the beginning, now it's becoming a teeth pulling exercise to get any further with them for a quote for shipping to Vancouver - we've hassled them for 2-3 weeks so far but we seem to be hitting a brick wall. Ongoing noise in the background.
The new apartment is heavenly quiet compared to living in the middle of a busy road junction like our last place. All goes well for a few days, then first thing Monday morning some builders start banging on the floor. It goes on all day ... every day ... for a week. We go out most days, but I need to call the hospital on Thursday to confirm my surgery on Saturday to remove the pins. Telephoning is challenging at the best of times with the language difficulties, but now we have incessant banging to add to the challenge. I have a contact in the outpatients who can speak a little english, Rossina, so I call her. After <BANG> several <BANG> minutes <BANG> of <BANG> confusing <BANG> conversation <BANG> I <BANG> don't <BANG> manage <BANG> it. I try to call from a phone box near by, but she's not around anymore. So I resort to my insurance company for help. By Thursday evening they confirm my surgery. I call Rossina on Friday lunchtime to confirm the time. I'm to be at the hospital for 6:30am. All good. I go to bed reasonably early, then get a confusing email in Spanish from the Doctor's secretary at 11pm which seems to say the surgery is cancelled. AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!! I reply to her to say I had it confirmed, I will be at the hospital at 6:30am and I hope the doctor is there to do my surgery.
So I walk through A&E doors at 6:15am and the security guards act like I've come to rob the place and stop me going upstairs. Thankfully there's a nurse who can speak english quite well and he confirms I'm really not on the list for any surgery this morning. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. I can't bear this cast any more. I'm told to wait while he goes to investigate and to see what he can do. Long story short - they agree to do my surgery for me - it's only a 10-15 minute operation so they can fit me in. Hallelujah! I'm in and out of the hospital by 10am. Thankfully the builders aren't working today so I can rest and sleep a lot.
June 28th comes around and we're really excited - we can download Game of Thrones season 6 on iTunes. We couldn't watch it live in any way, and we've been trying to avoid spoilers on social media for 12 weeks. So we have a GOT marathon session and gobble it all up over five nights!
Other activities to pass the time include watching Project Management webinars to keep up my knowledge and earn points to keep up my PMP accreditation. Jeff's learning about the standard model of quantum physics and DNA decoding of the human genome.
It's time to move apartments again, and I kid you not, it's literally 170m around the corner - what can possibly go wrong?! Well, nothing this time :) I had help from our current landlord to carry my stuff around in his car while Jeff moved the bikes. The only downside with this move is we have to wait 5 hours before we can move in - we were able to drop our luggage off and park the bikes - but we can't move in until 5pm. We spend the afternoon in the bar lounge at the Marriott overlooking the ocean.
Overall my fractured wrist has cost us about two months and we have to radically adjust our plans. The original plan was to ride all the way up to Alaska - and just sail around the Darien Gap from Columbia to Panama, then from Alaska, fly over to Russia and ride across Asia. We can't do that now as we don't fancy Russia, Mongolia and Central Asia in the winter - our round the world project constraint is always the weather. So to make up time we are forsaking riding through Ecuador, Columbia and the whole of Central America. We will sea freight the bikes to Los Angeles, ride around the US and head for Toronto where we will ship the bikes to South Africa. From there we will ride north through Africa making our way towards Europe in the Spring 2017. Our bikes will take about 3 weeks to sail to LA and in the meantime we will fly to Panama, Cuba and Mexico to see a little of those countries as tourists on foot.
So we have the shipping of the bikes to sort out and then hopefully we can get going. Arranging the shipping is already proving difficult - and that's just getting quotes - so who knows what happens next?