25 February 2010

From Imacita to Santa Maria de Nieva

19/2. Friday.. We leave poor and muddy Imacita at 8:30 h after having been told that it is 3.5 h driving to Nieva. Along the road we see very poor villages and houses, some military camps looking clean and installations of Petro-Peru. Sometimes a village looks véry clean and the people wave kindly at us: these appear to be 7th-Day Adventists. But there are also Evangelical pueblo's of mestizo's.

View from our hotel on the plaza of Imacita, a poor and muddy place.

After 1.5 h driving we hear at Wawico that Nieva is still 5 h driving!
We have lunch on the road, it is very warm, but shade is difficult to find with the sun right above us. We continue our road at 15 km/h. We are at about 400 m and descending slowly while the mountains disappear. After a while there are mountains again far away in the North-East: the Cerro Campanquiz, where the Marañon breaks through forming the Pongo de Manseriche?

Left: very poor villages along the road; here perhaps a school? Right: stop at Wawico where they offer us Nona-fruits. We hear that Nieva is still a 5-h drive....

Left Puenta Nueva, after a 4 h drive and 75 km from Imacita. Right: lunch without shade.

The worst road so far. Eduardo is doing a fantastic job!!

At 3:15 p.m. we arrive at the Rio Nieva in Juan Velasquez. We have been driving over the worst road ever and feel quite tired. We meet a taxi driver who recognized us since he had passed us. He drives in 8 h from Bagua, where he lives, to Nieva, where he sleeps in his car and then back again every two days! He points us at his tires: in the back he has special, thin tires without profile, in front normal tires for traction.  That is the secret of the (few) fast Toyota cars that have been passing us: the tires! He wondered how Eduardo had made it on his broad, heavy tires of the Jeep....
We now have to leave the car, take our luggage and cross the river by boat to Santa Maria de Nieva. We are helped by Don Ricardo Montenegro; he is 70 years (!) and kindly takes up my bag. Once in Nieva there appears no hotel room available because of a three-day meeting of the Awajun communities. Eduardo walks to our contact Ramón Levi, the brother of Elsa whom we met in Jaen. The bresult is that we can have two rooms in Hosteria Florelita right on the border of the Marañon. Here, we have a warm, humid night on hard beds with rats running around on the iron roof. But the sound of the rain on the roof and the fatigue make us sleep.....Two irregular stairs down are the baños, still high above the river; there is no light, but there is water.....

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