When I was told that cycling was the most efficient form of transport in the world I thought, really? Having just hauled myself by bike more than 9500 miles, over high mountain passes and rough terrain, it was a little disappointing to find out that actually, I'd done it the easiest way!
All we knew was based on the recommendation of a fellow cyclist, one we hadn’t even met. As we climbed the long winding hill to Xilitla, the sun falling quickly behind the mountains ahead, it crossed my mind ‘I hope this is all going to be worth it’.
Why are we dragging ourselves through all kinds of challenges, from isolated mountain passes to hot, oppressive, busy highways? I almost always say the same thing: I am here to have an adventure, to learn about other cultures, to see the biodiversity the world offers, to learn Spanish, and to EAT.
Cyclists in general are stingy. I am not sure if we all start out this way (perhaps we cyclists pick this mode to skip the bus fares and find the cheaper, less touristy places), or if after months on the road we have become accustom to cheap living.
The start of Phase Two was painful. After a well deserved three week break from the bicycle my butt had forgotten what it was like to cycle. Every bump felt as if an angry giant was hitting me in the bum with a baseball bat as hard as he could.
If we had taken the highway we would have arrived here, in Cerro de Pasco, in about a week. Instead, just miles into the highway with the insane drivers, the constanthonking, the trash lined streets, and the boringness of it all, we turned off the paved road. Thus to cycle from Huancayo to Cerro de Pasco we needed more than a week. We needed two weeks.
Really there had never been much of a plan. Still, plan or no plan, it is good to know what country you are in. You want to avoid having to search out a village to ask "uhhhh... what country are we in". Trust us, we know.
At the end of each day of searching, when I close my eyes, I see frogs. I see frogs hovering on rocks in a jail of aquatic grasses. I see frogs in shades of grays, browns, and blacks, decorated with spots until each is unique. I see frogs kicking off to escape my looming shadow, their pleated skin billowing like the waves I still feel rocking me.
People took to the streets with their walking shoes and bikes. They walked in the middle of the road. They biked where ever they pleased. Kids on push bikes scuttled along, winding around median dividers, zigzagging like stray soccer balls up and down the streets.
I've spent the last four months trying desperately to learn spanish. I've spent the last four weeks trying - equally unsuccessfully - to learn css and html. Let's just say language is not my thing. Still...the show must go on.