Looking for a Pacific kind of Pan

So, have you been keeping up with our adventure? Now’s the time to prove it, with our specially conjured The Rule of Thumb Quiz. No cheating.

1. With whom was our longest hitch? For how many days did it last? (Two points)
2. In which city did we watch a World Cup match? What was the score? (Two points)
3. Which charity are we supporting? (One point)(For an extra 10,000 points sponsor us here.)
4. How many times have we had to pay for transport while attempting to hitchhike? (One point)
5. What has been Steve’s favourite exotic creature so far? (One point)
Answers at the bottom.

Have a Pisco Sour to celebrate finishing.

Finished? Have a Pisco Sour to celebrate (Peru’s most famous drink).

On Monday, Jo’s body decided that no, it was not fair to keep putting it through these temperature/altitude changes, and that therefore no further movement would be tolerated, at least for the time being . This led to an unplanned extra day in Cuzco, during which Jo mainly slept, reviving long enough for her first (and possibly last) ever £2 haircut.

I could come here twenty times for the cost of one haircut in London. No free biscuits, though.

I could come here twenty times for the cost of one haircut in London. … No free biscuits, though.

Regaining a little strength on Tuesday, we made for the exit road and our first true day of hitching in Peru. Initially, the signs were not good. We were pointed to the buses. We were laughed at. A pigeon pooed on Steve. Should we give up, we wondered?

Only joking. We pushed through and before long Jesus (well, Jesús really) picked us up and we were back on the road. Our first drop-off point was a little town up the road called Urcos, whereupon Jo conked out again, but by this time an important truth had already been established: hitchhiking is possible in Peru.

Jesús and his mother (Paola, not Mary).

Jesús and his mother (Paola, not Mary).

Our aim at this juncture was an important one: to make the final planned detour of this whole adventure. We had been invited by an old Ministry of Justice colleague of mine, Chris, and his wife, Tammy, to visit them in Arequipa, a city to the south-west of Cuzco. (We saw them in Brazil too, so they must be special). Off we trotted with Peruvian trucker Alex, and arrived shortly after nightfall on Wednesday.

Arequipa was every bit as charming as Cuzco. The city is surrounded by three gigantic volcanoes, which made for an impressive horizon and for slight concern, considering that if Misti, the closest, erupted, it would take just 15 seconds to cover everything. Why did no-one else seem bothered?

Misty Misti.

Misty Misti.

Arequipa is sunny for 360 out of 365 days in any given year. On our second day, it was cloudy. Uh huh. Happily, this did not impact our time with Chris and Tammy and new friends Chris and Anthony, an English couple who are – guess what! – travelling from Alaska to Argentina. We had plenty to talk about.

Steve and I made dinner - the fifth time in four months!

We made dinner – only the fifth time in four months!

Our mid-week weekend over, on Saturday we decided to try to get as far as we could before our proper weekend stop. After the kindness of a factory owner who got his employee to drive us out of the city just to help us on our way, we had no trouble meeting Fernandito (little Fernando), heading north for a few hundred kilometres.


And now, friends, we can share with  you this extremely exciting news: we have made it to the Pan-American Highway on the Pacific Coast! This road is to be our companion, barring deviations, all the way to Alaska. We are really on track now.


Total number of lifts: 159
Week Nineteen distance travelled: 1,014 km
Total distance travelled: 22,105 km

You see where it says La Paz in the bottom right-hand corner? We left there on 9th May.

You see where it says ‘La Paz’ in the bottom right-hand corner? We left there on 9 May.


1. Sergio, María and Juli (in Argentina). Ten days in total. (Two points)
2. Belo Horizonte. 0-0. (Two points)
3. Tearfund (One point). (Did you earn those extra points?)
4. None, silly, it’s against the rules. (One point)
5. If you mentioned any one of guanaco, llama, toucan, parrot, or anything else not found in England, you can have a point. (One point)

Points out of 7:
6 – 7: Congratulations! You are a pro. You should buy a “The Rule of Thumb 2” book to celebrate (available 2015).
3 – 5: Hmm. Bit of work to do. Buy a “The Rule of Thumb 2” book to improve your knowledge.
0 – 2: Absolute disaster. You should be ashamed of yourself. Buy two “The Rule of Thumb 2” books to atone for your ignorance.


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