Tag Archives: peru

Drug War Debate Divides Latin America, U.S. at OAS Summit

Latin American governments traditionally allied with the U.S. on anti-drug efforts are increasingly divided as countries from Costa Rica to Colombia seek a debate over legalization at a regional summit.

Officials from the 35 members of the Organization of American States are meeting in Guatemala City today in a special session called a year ago to address counter-narcotics policies.

Continue reading Drug War Debate Divides Latin America, U.S. at OAS Summit

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A photographer has spent 3 years taking pictures of women to see how beauty is defined around the world

In 2013, 30-year-old photographer Mihaela Noroc quit her job in Romania to backpack around the world full time.

Since then, she has visited every continent except for Antarctica and a total of about 50 countries, photographing hundreds of women along the way for her project, dubbed Atlas of Beauty.

And she’s still going.

More than ever, I think our world needs an Atlas of Beauty to show that diversity is something beautiful, not a reason for conflict,” Noroc explains to Tech Insider. “I hope that the portraits from The Atlas of Beauty can challenge many misconceptions that exist around the world.”

Noroc’s proficiency in five languages helps her speak with subjects either on the street or in their homes, but sometimes she relies on translators or body language alone to communicate.

Currently, she’s looking for funding to continue her journey, and hopes by 2017 to have enough images to publish a book.

You can follow Noroc’s trip and view more work on her Facebook, Instagram and Tumblraccounts. Keep scrolling to see more of her amazing images.

This is Mihaela Noroc posing in Bogotá, Colombia. The 30-year-old photographer travels the world taking photographs of women from different cultures.

Noroc has spent three years traveling for her “Atlas of Beauty” series. This woman was photographed on the streets of Moldova.

Noroc has spent three years traveling for her "Atlas of Beauty" series. This woman was photographed on the streets of Moldova.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“I walk hours every day, in very different environments and I try to find relevant faces and stories for each place,” Noroc tells Tech Insider. This woman was in Peru.

"I walk hours every day, in very different environments and I try to find relevant faces and stories for each place," Noroc tells Tech Insider. This woman was in Peru.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

She also finds subjects online. Sometimes she’s invited back to their homes. Here, an Ecuadorian woman in her living room.

She also finds subjects online. Sometimes she's invited back to their homes. Here, an Ecuadorian woman in her living room.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

This woman is a market seller from Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

This woman is a market seller from Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc photographed women in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. “Although they live in a rough and isolated environment, Wakhi people are amazingly welcoming and friendly,” Noroc says.

Noroc photographed women in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. "Although they live in a rough and isolated environment, Wakhi people are amazingly welcoming and friendly," Noroc says.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

So far, Noroc has been to around 50 countries. Here, a woman smiles in Omo Valley, Ethiopia.

So far, Noroc has been to around 50 countries. Here, a woman smiles in Omo Valley, Ethiopia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

She tries to capture each woman in her surroundings. This woman was snapped in Thorunn, Iceland.

She tries to capture each woman in her surroundings. This woman was snapped in Thorunn, Iceland.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“I prefer to photograph natural faces, without a lot of make-up,” Noroc says. Here, a woman sits at a tea house in Istanbul, Turkey.

"I prefer to photograph natural faces, without a lot of make-up," Noroc says. Here, a woman sits at a tea house in Istanbul, Turkey.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc says this Ethiopian woman is a Muslim, but her best friend is Christian. “While traveling in Ethiopia in February, I admired the way Christians and Muslims got along,” she says. “But in the same country, there are dozens of terrible ethnic conflicts.”

Noroc says this Ethiopian woman is a Muslim, but her best friend is Christian. "While traveling in Ethiopia in February, I admired the way Christians and Muslims got along," she says. "But in the same country, there are dozens of terrible ethnic conflicts."

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc visited Kichwa, Ecuador in the Amazon Rainforest and took pictures of the women there.

Noroc visited Kichwa, Ecuador in the Amazon Rainforest and took pictures of the women there.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

She has been expanding her project to include a wider range and diversity of subjects, both old and young. This picture was taken in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

She has been expanding her project to include a wider range and diversity of subjects, both old and young. This picture was taken in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“In some countries I approach 10 women and maybe only one accepts,” she says. “In other places, everybody accepts.” This was in Maori, New Zealand.

"In some countries I approach 10 women and maybe only one accepts," she says. "In other places, everybody accepts." This was in Maori, New Zealand.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“Usually, in Western countries, I’m never refused [when I ask to take a picture],” Noroc says. This woman poses in Harlem, New York.

"Usually, in Western countries, I'm never refused [when I ask to take a picture]," Noroc says. This woman poses in Harlem, New York.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

An Uzbek woman in Kyrgyzstan.

An Uzbek woman in Kyrgyzstan.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Here, a Buddhist nun poses in Kathmandu, Nepal.

 Here, a Buddhist nun poses in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc photographed this woman in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Noroc photographed this woman in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

This woman is a computer engineer from Cairo, Egypt.

This woman is a computer engineer from Cairo, Egypt.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Traveling across the Java Sea in Indonesia.

Traveling across the Java Sea in Indonesia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Going to North Korea was like “stepping [onto] a totally different planet, with different rules,” Noroc says. This woman was photographed in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Going to North Korea was like "stepping [onto] a totally different planet, with different rules," Noroc says. This woman was photographed in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

This woman was spotted in Sofia, Bulgaria.

This woman was spotted in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc says this woman in Guangzhou, China, was on her way to the hospital with her mother and husband to give birth.

Noroc says this woman in Guangzhou, China, was on her way to the hospital with her mother and husband to give birth.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A woman standing on a pier in the Baltic Sea, Finland.

A woman standing on a pier in the Baltic Sea, Finland.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A painter, in her studio in Valparaiso, Chile.

A painter, in her studio in Valparaiso, Chile.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A woman poses on the streets of Havana, Cuba.

A woman poses on the streets of Havana, Cuba.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A ballerina displays her talent in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

 A ballerina displays her talent in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“For me, beauty is diversity, [it’s] what makes us unique,” Noroc says. “I also believe that beauty can teach us to be more tolerant.” Below, a woman in the streets of Iran.

"For me, beauty is diversity, [it's] what makes us unique," Noroc says. "I also believe that beauty can teach us to be more tolerant." Below, a woman in the streets of Iran.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A young woman in Cape Town, South Africa.

A young woman in Cape Town, South Africa.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A woman in Oxford, UK.

A woman in Oxford, UK.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Wearing traditional dress in Otavalo, Ecuador.

Wearing traditional dress in Otavalo, Ecuador.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“[In India] I photographed subjects from very different environments,” Noroc tells Tech Insider. “From poor women living in slums to Sonam Kapoor, one of the most popular Indian actresses.” Here, an Indian woman poses at a train station.

"[In India] I photographed subjects from very different environments," Noroc tells Tech Insider. "From poor women living in slums to Sonam Kapoor, one of the most popular Indian actresses." Here, an Indian woman poses at a train station.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A young woman in Medellin, Colombia.

A young woman in Medellin, Colombia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“Many people tell me how the project changed the way they see beauty and diversity,” Noroc tells Tech Insider. A woman on the streets of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

"Many people tell me how the project changed the way they see beauty and diversity," Noroc tells Tech Insider. A woman on the streets of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

But her project has received criticism for showing a narrow a definition of beauty. “There is also negative feedback sometimes, but you have to accept it, even if you find it unfair,” she says. Below, a redheaded woman posing in San Francisco, USA.

But her project has received criticism for showing a narrow a definition of beauty. "There is also negative feedback sometimes, but you have to accept it, even if you find it unfair," she says. Below, a redheaded woman posing in San Francisco, USA.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“The internet can make you very popular but also very exposed to different opinions,” she says. “Which is not bad, in the end.” A blond woman outside a home in Latvia.

"The internet can make you very popular but also very exposed to different opinions," she says. "Which is not bad, in the end." A blond woman outside a home in Latvia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A Tibetan woman in the Sichuan Province, China.

A Tibetan woman in the Sichuan Province, China.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

A mother and her son pose in Australia.

A mother and her son pose in Australia.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc hopes to publish an Atlas of Beauty book after another year of traveling. This woman was photographed in Rio de Janeiro.

Noroc hopes to publish an Atlas of Beauty book after another year of traveling. This woman was photographed in Rio de Janeiro.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

“There is much more diversity in the world, waiting for me, and I love to discover it. It’s an infinite treasure,” she says. Below, a woman in Myanmar.

"There is much more diversity in the world, waiting for me, and I love to discover it. It's an infinite treasure," she says. Below, a woman in Myanmar.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc also traveled around her home country of Romania. Here, a ceramic art student in a workshop in Cluj, Romania.

Noroc also traveled around her home country of Romania. Here, a ceramic art student in a workshop in Cluj, Romania.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

Noroc plans to continue to travel the world with just her backpack and camera. Her next stop? Greece.

Noroc plans to continue to travel the world with just her backpack and camera. Her next stop? Greece.

Courtesy of Mihaela Noroc

You can follow her journey and view more of her work on her Facebook page as well as herInstagram and Tumblr accounts.

Bolivares: Brand Of The Americas

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Ah, sweats. Few things could be more perfect for lounging in year-round or even sporting to work. It’s true that over the past year designers have been slimming down the traditional sweatshirt and sweatpant down so you can now wear them outside the home or gym and even pair with a blazer. Yet who hasn’t run into that situation when all you really want is one timeless but stylish piece that flies with everything, feels so comfortable that you never want to take it off, and yet isn’t so precious you don’t want to get it dirty?

Introducing Bolivares, the knitted basics brand out of New York City. Sold exclusively online, the company makes sweaters, tees, tank tops, pants and shorts, but creates them out of luxurious cottons predominantly from Peru in brilliant color for a zesty Latin twist.

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“Fashion’s not just about style but personality,” insists Lucho Bolivares, who founded the company in 2010 after stints in club promoting. Deciding to pursue his passion for the fashion trade, he packed his bags for South America and lived in Peru and Colombia for six months to lay the groundwork for his business and get schooled in the craft of textiles. Today, Bolivares blends South American handcrafted techniques and fabrics with his native New Yorker’s street sensibility to create something casual yet luxurious and modern in feel, with color as one of its signatures.

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“I admire Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, Yohji Yamamoto and even Marc Jacobs. These are all designers that are introducing good quality, whether it’s high-tech. But I’m just trying to do leisurewear that’s functional for the guy that’s on the move.

Those are the people I’m focusing on,” the designer explains, calling sweaters his go-to niche. “You can have the same fiber and yarn for three styles, but if you have a different stitch, it can behave differently. And you’re not feeling overdressed or underdressed when you wear a sweater.

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” New for this season are exquisite knitted tank tops and shorts (above), printed tees in pastels, and lighter gauge knits with graphic elements inspired by New York; but as the designer hints, Bolivares will pick up more steam when it releases accessories including scarves and hats for the fall and opens its first store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in September. Says Lucho, “I feel like we’ve all seen the same things from people. I just thought a Latin American fusion would be fresh.”

El Chapo’s (Shorty) long reach – How cocaine conquered the world

HE MAY be only little, but Joaquín “Shorty” Guzmán, who was captured in Mexico on February 22nd, is reckoned to have run a big criminal business.

Mr Guzmán, who spent 13 years on the run after escaping from prison hidden in a laundry cart, is said by prosecutors to have been the boss of the Sinaloa drug-trafficking organisation, reckoned to be the world’s largest.

“Cartels” such as Sinaloa have helped to create a global market for cocaine, whose active ingredient is grown only in remote parts of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.

In recent years police have seized the drug in nearly every country in the world. Though its popularity shows signs of declining in some rich countries, emerging markets such as Brazil are developing a taste for the drug.

Colombia to ban coca spraying herbicide glyphosate

A Colombian peasant holds a bag of coca paste at a makeshift drug lab in Putumayo on 30 January, 2003
Andean countries’ farmers have been encouraged to stop growing coca and to switch to other crops

Colombia has announced it will stop using a controversial herbicide to destroy illegal plantations of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.

The decision follows a warning by the World Health Organization (WHO) that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic”.

The product has been used in US-sponsored crop-spraying anti-narcotics programmes in South America.

President Juan Manuel Santos has said Colombia will need to find other mechanisms to combat coca production.

Anti-narcotics officials in Colombia will have until October to prepare an alternative plan.

A Farc rebel in a coca field, 2000
The government says Farc rebels protect coca fields and profit from the production of cocaine

‘Health risk’

“I am going to ask the government officials in the National Drug Council at their next meeting to suspend glyphosate spraying of illicit cultivations,” Mr Santos announced.

“The recommendations and studies reviewed by the Ministry of Health show clearly that yes, this risk exists,” he added, making reference to the WHO warning on cancer.

But Colombia will not “lower the guard” in its combat against drug trafficking, said Mr Santos.

The Colombian drug eradication programme began in 1994.

The authorities target mainly areas controlled by the country’s largest rebel group, the Farc.

Colombian police fumigation plane, 2008
Colombia, Peru and Bolivia are the world’s biggest cocaine producers

They say the Farc use the income from cocaine production to finance its armed struggle.

Other coca-producing countries in the region, including Ecuador and Peru, have also used the herbicide to destroy coca fields.

Farmers say aerial fumigation has destroyed entire fields of coffee and other legal produce.

Mexican Drug Cartels Expand Reach In Peru

LIMA, Peru — When police here unearthed nearly 8 tons of cocaine — a national record — hidden inside lumps of coal late last month, it was little surprise that two Mexican citizens were also arrested.

The brutal Mexican cartels that control the drug routes from remote Andean villages where raw coca plants grow to the world’s largest consumer market, the United States, are known to have been present in Peru since the 1990s.

Nevertheless, the haul found in a small seafront warehouse in Huanchaco, a fishing village known for its surfing on Peru’s northern coast, stood out for another reason: It was bound not for the US but, in two separate shipments, for Spain and Belgium.

“What is surprising is that this implies a change in the criminal map,” said Peru’s former anti-drug czar Ricardo Soberon. “For Mexicans to be running drugs from Peru to Europe, without it ever going anywhere near Mexico — wow!”

There may be little mystery about the Mexicans’ motivations, which appear rooted in basic economics.

“The European market is more profitable than the American market,” notes Flavio Mirella, the head of the Peru branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “Demand pushes supply.”

That is largely a reflection of street prices. One gram of cocaine in Europe cost on average $191 in 2010, according to Mirella’s agency, compared to $169 in the US.

Little has been revealed about the two Mexicans arrested, beyond their names, Ruben Larios Cabadas and Jhoseth Gutierrez Leon. Police say they are suspected members of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, in Peru to oversee the European shipments by two companies, Carboniferas Alfa & Omega and Betas Andinas del Peru.

Mexicans suspected of trying to smuggle 7.6 tonnes of cocaine to Europe are escorted by police officers after their arrival to the police airport in Lima, September 4, 2014. Peruvian police seized a record 7.6 tons of cocaine in a quiet coastal town on August 26th, arresting seven Peruvians and two Mexicans, according to Peru’s Interior Ministry.

Image: Mexicans suspected of trying to smuggle 7.6 tonnes of cocaine to Europe are escorted by police officers after their arrival to the police airport in Lima

The pair, along with six Peruvians who were also arrested, is now being questioned in Lima. Peruvian police have also asked their Mexican counterparts for information about the alleged boss of the operation, Lee Rodriguez, known as “El Duro,” or “the tough one.”

Both companies were founded in 2011 with a total initial capital of around 60,000 soles (roughly $21,000) and are thought to have realized 30 shipments of coal to Europe since then.

At least some of those would have been without cocaine, as the traffickers sought to evade detection and make their venture appear legitimate.

But Soberon speculates that around 20 would have contained cocaine. Assuming they each involved similar amounts of drugs as the intercepted shipments, then, doing some back-of-the-envelope math, he calculates that the operation would have already sent cocaine with a street value of $2.8 billion to Europe.

“The scale of the seizure shows that they felt very safe storing their drugs there [in the warehouse],” he adds. “This just shows that in Peru the narcos are using every possible means to get their drugs to market, drug mules on commercial flights, down the Amazon river to Brazil, over the Bolivian border, light aircraft from the VRAE, and now this as well.”

Image: Anti-narcotics officers burn bags of the cocaine seized last week near Trujillo at a special operation police headquarters, in Lima

Anti-narcotics officers burn bags of the cocaine seized last week near Trujillo at a special operation police headquarters, in Lima September 3, 2014.

Peruvian police seized a record 7.6 tons of cocaine in a quiet coastal town on August 26th, arresting seven Peruvians and two Mexicans suspected of trying to smuggle the load to Europe as coal, according to Peru’s Interior Ministry.

Peru is now the world’s top cocaine producer. There are no official estimates of how much the country actually makes, but experts agree the figure would be in the low hundreds of tons each year.

Most of that, along with Bolivian cocaine, heads to Europe or Asia or is consumed in South America. The US market is supplied overwhelmingly by Colombia.

Mexico is making inroads in this region. Officials have detained dozens of Mexican cartel operatives over the last five years across South America, where they launder money, move drugs, or hide out from law enforcement back home.

This year alone, police have arrested alleged Mexican drug traffickers in Argentina, Ecuadorand Brazil, among other countries.

Mexican gangsters first stepped into the cocaine trade in the 1980s, when Colombian cartels hired them to move the white powder over the border into the United States to fuel its booming multibillion-dollar market.

The Colombians turned to the Mexicans after US drug agents backed by the military managed to squeeze the Caribbean route where cocaine was flown or shipped into Miami. The 1,954-mile US southern border proved much harder to police.

However, while the Mexicans began as paid couriers, they gradually ate more and more into the cocaine-trade pie, taking over distribution, sales and transport from the south.

By the early 2000s, the Mexicans were buying up vast quantities of cocaine from producers in Colombia — for some $2,000 per 1-kilogram brick — and owning the rest of the chain.

Now, US drug agents say, their expansion into Peru has been so extensive that the Mexicans even run their own cocaine laboratories here.

Yet Mexican narcos are still far from completely controlling Peru’s cocaine chain. The UN’s Mirella says most labs here are still operated by “local clans” in a decentralized system that limits the damage when law enforcement detects one.

This past week Peruvian newspaper La Republica reported that Brazilian gangsters were also running operations in the VRAE, the Spanish acronym for the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene Rivers, a lawless outpost on the lush slopes of the eastern Andes that now grows more coca than anywhere else on Earth.

Brazil is the world’s second largest cocaine market, after the US, with cheap crack and cocaine paste popular in the favelas (city slums), while more affluent Brazilians snort the refined powder in increasing quantities.

Citing a confidential police report, the paper named the leader of the gang as Osmar de Souza, a 27-year-old Brazilian with a long record of drug-running that includes escaping from jail in both Argentina and Paraguay. Officers were unavailable for comment to GlobalPost.

But despite Peruvian police setting a new national record for a cocaine seizure, some say law enforcement here still needs to up its game to confront the cartels.

Mirella praised the efforts to track and stop the large amounts of chemicals, such as kerosene and sulfuric acid, that are used to turn coca leaves into cocaine.

“Without them [the chemicals], you don’t have a finished product,” he said.

But he believes more could be done to stop money laundering.

“At the end of the day, it is the money laundering that is keeping this business alive.”

That, and the demand for cocaine in cities from Los Angeles to Paris and Tokyo.

Fatbiking the Cusqueñan Railtrail; Bolivia to Peru

La Paz – Achacachi – Moho – Juliaca – Nicaso – Pupuja – Ayaviri – Sicuani – Checacupe – Pitamarca. 230km of railway link Juliaca to Checacupe (at which point we veered north to bikepack across the Ausungate range), before wending onwards to Cusco.

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The train line runs roughly parallel to the main road, avoiding pavement and associated traffic for 80% of the way.

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Sometimes this means riding railside singletrack, connecting dirt roads, or even across the actual railway sleepers. Disclaimer: not recommended for bikes without fat tyres!

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I have Kurt to thank for this one. And the venerable Pugsley too. Without either of them, it’s unlikely I’d have considered riding over 200kms along/on top/beside an Andean railway line.

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As it is, tackling the Cusqueñan railtrail proved to be one of the more unusual highlights of this Americas ride, and a memorable way to reaching the old Incan capital of Cusco, especially when coupled with the Ausungate traverse (more on that little gem later).

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Certainly, it helped lift my spirits after a sorrowful Bolivian farewell – a country that lived up to my every expectation – and provided a fitting finale to the end of this journey.

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After the striking scenery of the high Altiplano, the paved ride around the quiet, eastern shores of Lago Titicaca seemed relatively uneventful.

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Segmented by a flurry of quality dirt across the actual border, the fun didn’t really begin until after the sprawling settlement Juliaca – a noisy, rambunctious city, even by Peruvian standards, home to the gracious Giovanni and his newfound Casa de Ciclistas.

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In fact, given the relative peace and serenity of Bolivia (drunken fiestas notwithstanding), Juliaca’s gridlocked traffic and swarms of tuk-tuks came as something of a jarring surprise.

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Visa stamps procured in nearby Puna, it wasn’t long before Miguel and I were escaping the city on a scrap of dirt, squeezed between the main highway and the rail line, preferring to bounce along rough tracks and dodge trash than have trucks and buses buzz by.

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The plan was to make maximum use of our fat tyres, following the historic railway line that runs to Cusco – as Kurt had done the year before – before peeling off towards 6384m Ausungate, reported to be amongst the most beautiful mountain folds in the country.

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And, bar the odd push and grunt, it all pieced together spectacularly well. At times a decent dirt road even ran alongside the rail lines, completely bereft of traffic, except for kids pedalling to school.

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But generally, we picked our way along a footpath, beside the actual rails, or we dipped onto singletrack worn smooth by motorbikes that shortcut across the pampa.

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We passed little more than old railway villages and llamas, surprising children and elderly folk alike.

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Before the advent of the highway, this was the main mode of transport for locals; now it’s just a couple of tourist trains that trundle past by each day.

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Gringos who stop in such settlements are thus a rare commodity – cue a barrage of enquiries at every stop. ‘No te cansa?’ Don’t you get tired?

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The lady at the store seems particularly preocuppied with the state of my riñones – kidneys. Clearly, she didn’t grasp the plush comfort afforded by fat tyres.

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In another railroad village, an old man in a smart trilbe rolled over for a chat, leaning on his Indian singlespeed with a solemn air. Once we’d fielded his tirade of questions, he commented:

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‘How sad. It must be so cold at night. And what do you do when it rains?’ It was true, the first of the storms had arrived, signalling a shift in the seasons.

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By afternoon, sunny skies were laden with clouds. They circled us conspiratorially and lent further drama to the landscape.

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But we pedalled on, scything across the valley on our fat tyres, following a trail of endless rails…

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A note on fatbikes:

The more I tour, the more I’m smitten by these remarkable bikes, and the unparalleled scope they offer in terms of exploration – ample reward in my mind for their inevitable compromises on pavement and their extra heft.

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Beach, ripio, snow, singletrack, rock… and now railways. Truly, these machines have inherited the All Terrain Bike crown. More thoughts on travelling on my Surly Pugsley coming soon…

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If you would like to keep up with where I am between tardy blog entries, I keep my While Out Riding Facebook page more regularly updated – along with posting extra photos and gear ponderings.

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You can find it here. Occasionally, I pop some pictures up on my Instagram feed. And if you haven’t overdosed by then, I’ve also started a While Out Riding Tumblr edition, focusing on photography. 

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From here, we turn away from the railway line and head up, up, up… to hike ‘n bike across mighty Ausungate. More soon!

Via Dirt Road Adventures

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