800 meters up, 950 down.
It was nice to wake up and not have to pack up a tent etc. I am looking forward to getting into two rest days. I have not ridden 7 days in a row before and my legs are certainly feeling it.
Every morning before leaving my tent (or room) I spray myself with bug spray. Today it helped for the bits I had sprayed, but I was bitten through my bike shorts and top! Just when I was almost free of bites. Due to this I had a very short breakfast and was on my bike by 6:15am.
I rode in a group of 5 for the first 35 kilometres. It was useful for getting through the crazy traffic. Where cars would not stop for one rider, they did for five. We still had to be constantly watching – a few times a tuk tuk got in the middle of the group. The police escort from yesterday may have had some uses today!
The city is the dirtiest I have ever seen, rubbish bags, deal animals etc. The trucks and buses would fail a WOF in New Zealand due to fumes. The drivers are aggressive with cyclists and each other. The horns are constantly blaring. Some of the rubbish at the side of the road has been lit, so there is also the fumes of burning plastic and other waste. Overall not pleasant riding.
Once we got out of the city we were in the desert, endless sand as far as the eye can see. Then more dirt towns. At about the halfway point add to this a significant head wind!
With about 15 kilometres to go, we went back into the desert, with a strong head wind, little road shoulder and trucks and buses going past blaring their horns and covering you in fumes. The landscape is bleak and dry with very little vegetation. I was developing very low expectations of the rest day accommodation.
We turned left with 5 kilometres to go still, there was sand and old – almost derelict – buildings. We got down a steep road, came round a corner, and there was the most quaint little seaside town, with a promenade along the sea shore, little shops and a nice hotel! And best of news – I have been allocated my own room for three days! The joy! Not only do I have a view of the sea, but the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach can be heard from my room.
I unpacked and took the washing to the laundry, and then Jackie and I met for a cold drink on the hotel balcony. Nice outlook looking at the sea, warm and sunny, and only 2pm. A feeling of contentment and relaxation pervades. Then I was introduced to an innocent looking drink called a Pisco Sour. This is made with cane sugar liquor, lemon and egg. It does not taste like it contains the punch it does. During the evening I had another 3 of these, thankfully I only had to navigate my way upstairs to my room. I was sensible enough to drink a litre of water before bed.