Morning in Moyobamba. I awaken early and walk around the grounds. I watch the morning fog battle the sunrise. Over a fence I hear farm-workers in a field laughing and chatting. Then I snag some coffee and return to the room.
Sitting out back with my coffee, I can see in the distance below a ferry boat plying its trade, slowly crossing and re-crossing the river.
In my pensive mood, the ferry boat evokes memories of a very different ferry boat, a world and two decades distant, and a tanka comes unbidden into my mind:
He was a ferryman in a village to which we bicycled to from Yang Shuo in southern China. Sitting in Moyobamba I close my eyes and still see him, across the miles and more than 20 years.
When Ragna awakens, we drink coffee just outside our room, and eventually start back toward Jaen, planning to pick up what we left stored there, then drive back to Pedro Ruiz and head South to Chachapoyas.
We cross now-familiar territory. Spots that looked magical a few days ago, because of some conjunction of people, animals, interesting light, etc., we pass almost without noticing them, while others we hadn’t noticed, we do now.
Passing through the miles of rice paddies we see few people working [it’s Sunday], but come a motorcyclist so freshly dead that the ambulance is just arriving. I’m a lifelong motorcyclist. Almost no one wears a helmet here. Like a reformed alcoholic, I shake my head sadly and would preach to them all what I learned from experience, after many years of crossing the country with my helmet strapped to the back of the motorcycle. Once, in a helmet-law state, I went off the bike, flipped in the air, and hit the back of my head against the corner where the car’s roof met its hatchback, then landed flat on my back on top of the car. Had I been without a helmet, you wouldn’t be reading this right now — or, at least, this blog would be a lot less witty and perspicacious.
Back in Jaen, the suitcases we’d left there are intact, the pool is still cool and inviting, and we are back in the same comfortable room.
The next day I get the oil changed, but spend an otherwise lazy day. The next few days or weeks will take us down a long, unpaved set of roads through the mountains leading to some remote spots and interesting ruins, then, eventually, back to Cajamarca.