gallos

With the starting problem unresolved and the front brake pump bust, we set off out of Huacachica with only a half plan for poor Lucinda. What we don’t need a couple of days down the track is total electrical or brake failure. Unbelievably, BMW Lima couldn’t help with the starter, despite two shots at it. Every part has been replaced, as they were in Central America and in Colombia. I’m on my own to figure it out. But like I said, I have a half plan and so does Gord from BMW Kelowna. But it’s stressful.

So off we go, towards the Cordillera again, hoping to be there in 3 days. The sand disappears and is replaced with the typical Peruvian belt of mountainous desolation
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It’s a big empty ride until we get to this, half way across a hot dry plain on a dead straight section of road
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We pay 2 solas to climb it and look around
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It’s Nazca. Here are some lines
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Here’s a Google Earth snap of the tower
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They call the glyphs geoglifos, which is nice. So there are only two ways to see the lineas y geoglifos and I’m doing one of them up this weird tower. The other is by plane. You have to make a reservation so decide to sleep on it. Down the road a bit there’s this strange thing a short dirt ride in. There’s a sign saying not to walk on it. I’m afraid I don’t know what it is. I’ll look it up and edit this post later
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We ride into the town of Nazca and hit the GPS for hotels, ride around and find the town is full. Uh oh. I scroll the GPS field and see another out in the country. I head there and it’s a hotel/farm and very fancy. The nicest country place I’ve seen in a long time. Given that Nazca is a complete hole this is a surprise. Expensive, but about the same price as Holiday Inn in the States
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At about 5 in the morning the sounds of roosters crowing is like nothing I’ve ever heard. I’m amazed this place can stay in business it’s so intense. Wandering around the grounds, about 500 feet away I see this
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They’re full of roosters, but to be more specific, gallos, fighting cocks. I couldn’t have been happier. And what’s more they look just like Lucinda I thought. Here’s how it’s organized. They breed them like race horses. Here are the young ones. They’re not old enough to fight but are being raised on a special diet. The grain and stuff in the bowls looks good enough for us humans
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The cages are arranged by volume, with three tiers. I estimate between 80 and 100 cocks
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Then out come a couple of trainers. They grab one and tie a rope to one leg
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Here’s an example of what these amazing creatures look like. The strange thing is they’re all very different except in size. They have serious attitude
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The trainer walks them around the ring using two flags to steer them with
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This is incredibly cool and I have a million questions. The long and the short of it is that this is big business in Peru, with the national championships taking place in the LIma Colosseum. Huge money changes hands and trophy birds are worth a fortune. They fight aged 2 years old. And guess what? I’ve stumbled into one the two winningest ‘stables’ in Peru. This place is famous throughout the country.

The trainers are very friendly. Riding into a place like this on a bike like Lucinda gets you huge starting points, btw. I hang out with them for 2 hours (knowing my ride is going to tough after, but this is too cool to leave) and then they have a short quiet chat, smile at me and go and get 2 gallos. Yay!

They tie pads over a claw. Actually the claw has been removed but the stump can do damage
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They show the birds to each other
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They let them get really pissed off
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Then it’s fight time. I couldn’t take pictures and video at the same time, so click the video to the left (enlarge then click the HD button)

The fight is short because it’s for my benefit and they don’t want either bird getting hurt. In a real fight razor-sharp spurs are attached where the pads are with a predictable outcome. I forgot to ask them how long a real fight takes but I’d imagine not long.

Here’s an outdoor competition ring for the worker’s birds, with night lights
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But here’s the real deal
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This whole estate is about cock-fighting. I had missed the point last night, despite every ornament and painting being dedicated to the sport. I’m just buzzing to see a fight and go to the receptionist and ask who I speak to. And that’s where the party ends. The ring above is for private fights only. I wonder how much a cock is, thinking I’ll buy one and challenge on-the-spot the first person I see who’s carrying a bird around the place. Bad news there I’m afraid. They won’t say how much, but smile. Crazy gringo they think, but very friendly.

Cock fighting is an ancient sport. They have old prints behind glass showing cocks killing all kinds of animals, and even holding a human arm
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Saludos
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