Ten kilometers south of town I located a small gravel road heading east toward Bolivia. Foot paths and creek crossings were abundant in the muddy marshland south of town passing through what I thought to be the last minutes of Peru and the first moments in Bolivia. I named one particular creek ¨the one¨, and proceeded to shed all gear and clothing-save for my boots (for comfort), goggles (for style), and underwear (to keep the vampire catfish out), and ¡YIPPIE KAY YAYED! my way back and forth accrossed the muddy creek- one time for each day I waited for this moment. I spent and hour or two basking in the Bolivian sun, enjoying my success, and planning my route to La Paz. After scanning the marsh ahead for control checkpoints with my newly gifted binoculars, I decided to saddle up and hit the road. Smiles crested my face for the next half-an-hour or so, then both my motorcycle and happiness came to a swift halt when I crested a hill looking down on a very familiar sight- Desaguadero. In hindsight, this wouldn´t have been all that bad if I had been looking down from the Bolivian side of the river, but I wasn´t. I was still in Peru. This was no longer a game, it had become a battle.
I solemnly strolled back into town to the nearsest phone booth, and dialed the number given to me the night before. I was out of options. I needed advice. I needed a way accross. My friends from the night before-Edwin and Wilbur, had contacts. They were happy to meet me and discuss the in´s and out´s of border hopping by boat. A couple of hours later the plans were confirmed, and we were on for later that night. I would either be in a Bolivian hostal by 9 or a Peruvian jail by 10, only time would tell.
Eight o´clock, and the rain began to come down as if on cue, gracias a Dios. We wound our way through the empty & soaked streets of Desaguadero, three going-to-be fugitives on our way to the boatman down by the river. Huddled behind a small shack, we watched each others slightly nervous & criminaly eager faces light up with each strike of lightning above- smirking in anticipation. The signal was given, and we pushed the bike, fully loaded with gear, down to the muddy bank below. It took all four of us to heave the weighted bike into the tiny row boat, and after a confident nod from the boatman assuring we wouldn´t sink his vessel with such a load, we pushed off. Suprisingly, it only took a few thunder-filled minutes for the three peruvians, motorcycle, and leather clad gringo to reach the Bolivian bank. Our grunts lifting the bike out of the boat were drowned out by the sound of thunder and rain, and a brief scan of the shore above revealed no policia for the moment. I gave the capitain quick handshake and payment of 100 Bolivianos (equivalent to about $14) and he set off back to Peru, the two Peruvian teens and I into the Bolivian streets smiling in pure joy of a succesful mission. Finally, I was in Bolivia. My amigos had to return to their bicycle taxis in Peru, so I thanked them immensely, and they were on their way. I slept incredibly well that night, and woke the next morning eager to start the Bolivian Motocyclandes chapter.. First stop after the stressfull last week in Peru-The Peace (La Paz) for a celebretory weekend with Bro B.