So now we’re officially in the second part of “Takizawa Hideaki‘s Journey Cutting Through 4800km of South America” (滝沢秀明 南米縦断4800キロの旅) – the Peruvian portion. We last left Tackey-san crossing the border between Chile and Peru at night.

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He quickly spots a major city, with its lights gleaming on the horizon. The relief in his voice is real – seeing that city means that he won’t have to camp in his tent for the night. Not only will he be able to get a bed, but also a decent meal. I suspect that he’s often driven long into the night hoping to spot some kind of inn.

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This city is Tacna, and has a population of roughly 280,000.

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Here’s what it would look like in the daytime (sort of a shame from a travelogue point of view that Tackey-san always ends up at the cities at night, when we can’t see anything, and he’s so eager to depart in the morning that he doesn’t take a good look around):

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Food is the first order of business, and Tackey-san finds the meal of his dreams . . .

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. . . whole roasted turkey:

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Plus a beer, of course.

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The delight on his face as the very reasonably-priced (only 698 yen – about $8) meal arrived was utterly genuine. You know how I wondered what he was eaten when he seemed to go an entire day without food? Maybe the answer is not very much . . .

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. . . because he scarfs this turkey down like he’s absolutely starving.

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That night, he writes a short diary entry wrapping up his Chile phase, thanking that country for its hospitality. It’s a happy Tackey-san who wakes up after a long much-deserved sleep the next day.

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Seeing the terrain on the map, he decides to check on his oil and add some. He’s already done more than a thousand miles, and it’s no good risking the engine overheating on steep climbs. Still, this is yet another example of Tackey-san’s meticulousness.

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His targets are Cusco, the historical capital of the Incan Empire, and Machu Picchu, which was possibly an estate of the Incan emperor Pachacuti. Unlike Cusco, Machu Picchu’s remoteness ensured that it remained intact when the Spanish conquered the Inca.

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Getting to these legendary sites, though, will require climbing to altitudes over 4000m – taller than Mt. Fuji, and therefore any point in Japan.

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Tackey-san’s face looks resolute as he embarks on this ascent.

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He wants to run through the mountains nonstop:

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He gets cheered up a bit as he drives through a patch of greenery, noting that he hasn’t been surrounded by green in a long time (making his way through deserts and all).

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Then we start getting the numbers. First, 1000m altitude.

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Then Tackey-san realizes that he’s going to pass 3000km of driving today.

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Two thousand meters high (roughly 6500 feet).

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The air gets thin and the pressure difference starts to get to Tackey-san’s ear, but otherwise he seems unfazed.

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He quickly passes other altitude marks like 3000m and 3500m, eventually commenting on it as he passes Mt. Fuji’s 3776m.

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Then it starts to rain a bit, to his surprise and dismay.

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He doesn’t like this at all, saying “yabai, yabai, yabai” because the day had been totally clear when he started out, and suddenly, right when he’s close to the 3000km milestone and might what to get out for a commemorative picture soon, it begins to rain on his celebration. Really bad timing.

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Fortunately, it stops as he gets to 3000km so that he can get out and enjoy the scenery at an altitude of 4200m (13700 ft or 2.6 miles high).

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He takes a moment on it, also bringing out a bag of chips to show how puffed up it’s gotten since the air inside is at regular atmospheric pressure, and isn’t being held in check by nearly the same pressure outside.

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Not the best picture he’s taken on this trip, but it marked his greatest driving success so far.

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And he spots llamas as he continues to go up, passing 4500m (14760 ft) . . .

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. . . but he doesn’t stop at this point, as the sun is setting and he’s aiming to sleep in another city that night – one at 3827m.

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The name of the miracle city which thrives at such a height is Puno, population of about 100,000,  and we get a few photos of how it looks in the morning. That’s good because, as usual, he’s approaching it at night.

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We don’t see Tackey-san taking in a meal this time, and just get some Takizawa Cam as he gets to his hotel room.

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He really likes the King-sized bed and the cute atmosphere of the room.

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He spends an amusing moment swimming on the bed, and says he’d be happy just sleeping like this:

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I’m sure his muscles are in all kinds of pain after so much driving at altitudes he’s not accustomed to.

The next day, he looks through his guide book because he had seen a huge lake sparkling in the night.

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The name of the lake is probably known to most English-speaking young people, since it tends to quickly make its way around schools where, let’s face it, kids take any chance to get away with saying something that sounds dirty. It was also popularized by an Animaniacs song, but I don’t know if kids these days watch Animaniacs anymore – I was in the generational sweet-spot on that one.

It is, of course, Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America by volume and the highest navigable lake in the world.

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Tackey-san also reads that there are artificial islands in the lake made out of floating reeds (totora).

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Naturally, he decides to navigate this highest navigable lake and to visit the islands made of reeds.

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We’ll pick up his travels with this next time.

This was really a Tackey-only episode. We didn’t even get Tsubasa-san this time, and no interactions between him and the locals. I guess it was more of a man-versus-nature thing.

Not to worry, though, because I think he’s going to make up for that with the next episode once he gets to the reed islands, judging from the preview at the end of this one.

At the end of the episode, we also got an ad for the Takizawa Kabuki 2012 DVD, so it’s nice to see that Tackey-san is able to take some advantage of this promotional opportunity.

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