Thursday 15 May 2008

Cajamarca May 9-14

Well, I made it to Cajamarca in one piece, sort of... Unfortunately I´VE GOT A CRACK IN MY REAR RIM... No, not the dreaded haemmorhoids this time....the rim on my rear wheel has got a nasty crack in its sidewall! Click to enlarge the photo. The obvious line on the left is the crack, 50mms long and spreading. The sidewalls are dished out from all the braking over the last 2 weeks.

(· aro is Spanish for rim)
So, I´m stranded here in Cajamarca waiting for a replacement to be sent from Lima. It was kind of lucky to happen here. I only noticed it the day after I arrived but I had felt some `grabbing´ when braking on the last hill into town and a nasty `ting ting´ sound coming from the rear wheel since Chachapoyas.

Cajamarca is a pleasant city - old colonial buildings with a nice climate at 2700m- warm sunny days and cool nights. It has good cheap restaurants and well-stocked supermarkets. Local dairy produce- delicious cheeses, yoghurt & ice-creams. Chilean wine (Cab Sav)- 1 litre packs for $2! Nice crusty cibata bread in the supermarket. Hardly a gringo in sight! Also heaps of internet cafes- 40c an hour.

So, there could be worse places to languish. I phoned bike shops in Lima and found one- which had Mavic rims with 32 spokes for v-brakes. Most are 36 and for disc brakes. It is coming by bus tomorrow..hopefully. Now, I have to find a reliable wheelbuilder in town. There are only basic bike shops here but I´ve settled on this old guy who´s been a bike mechanic for years. Will keep you posted on this one.

While I´m on the theme of bikes falling apart.......
My front racks are aluminium Old Man Mountain (US) and the metal is wearing badly on the contact surfaces with the pannier clips and guards. So, I´ve borrowed my mate Rob Cooper´s idea of coiling wire around the worn edges and sealing it with epoxy resin. It worked well on my Blackburn racks in Tibet. The rear racks are Tubus (tubular steel) and there´s very little wear. More weight and friction than the front but the metal is not as soft as the aluminium. Go Tubus!

Taller Rayo.. building two new wheels for me. It looks pretty basic equipment but he did a good job and only cost 25 soles (A$10). I had to transfer the front Velocity cliffhanger to the rear (as good quality short spokes are almost impossible to find in Peru).
p.s.(the next day) The job wasn´t as good as I thought- he had overtightened the rear spokes and one broke today on the way to San Marcos (on sealed road). Then I found a few of the spokes nipples were burred - and I couldn´t loosen them. I adjusted what I could. Hope it suffices until Huaraz.

South Americans love to protest in the streets against their governments and the establishment for their ineptitude, injustice and corruption. First it was the bus drivers blocking the streets for a day, then a mysterious crowd (soldiers?)who chant slogans at 5am down the street by my hotel..and yesterday it was a group of indigenous campesinos from Cerro Negro protesting in Cajamarca about the cyanide poisoning of their river and the theft of their precious water by Yanacocha, the US-owned giant goldmine north of Cajamarca (second largest in the world).

Atahualpa, the Incan emperor was ambushed and captured by the Spanish conquistadors in Cajamarca in 1532. In the small picture above, Atahualpa is indicating that he could fill up the large ransom room with gold and silver. He drew a line with his outstretched hand. Once that line had been reached the Spaniards had promised they would release their Incan captive.
He was held prisoner in this cell as the Spanish stripped the empire of its gold and silver treasures. The illegitimate and illiterate Pizarro brothers were desperadoes and nothing could sate their lust for gold. After accumulating tonnes of gold, they broke their promise to release their captive and executed Atahualpa in the plaza by strangulation in front of his people.
Here is the Ransom Room Cuarto de Recate - the prison cell where Atahualpa was held, the only Incan building left in Cajamarca.

Atahulpa was bathing in the hot springs outside Cajamarca when he heard of the conquistadores approach. It was shortly after the civil war with his half-brother and he was at Los Baños to soothe some war wounds. Here is his bath.

And here is my bath. I went out to the hot springs for slightly less prosaic and historical reasons - to bathe and heal some canine and cactus wounds and other sore bits.

To make the Incan connection complete I stayed 5 nights at Hostal Atahualpa on Pasaje Atahualpa, half a block from the plaza where he was executed by the Spaniards.
At 6am and about to leave for Cajabamba. Notice the spare rim looped around the rear panniers. I´m also carrying a full set of spokes for this rim. Just in case.

Belen Church

A relief on the building opposite depicting a woman with four breasts, an affliction which was said to be prevalent in a nearby village in the 17th century.

1 comment:

Nick Parrott - Metanoia Design said...

Hey Pete, Fantastic postings but so sorry to hear about your cracked rim... must have been the week for the hairline variety...have almost completed the bench now check this out ...