Paul and Ritas World Tour 2005 - Peru


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Currency is Nuevo Sole, 1GBP = 5.7 soles

Saturday 9/7/05 (Rita writes...)
We left Tacna on the semi cama-half bed bus at 2.40pm July bound for Lima, overnight. Just an hour earlier we crossed the border into Peru by local cab, as is the general practice, either that or a collectivo, minibus. Arica /Tacna border was easy and pretty quick with formalities. It was warm, sun shining and a bit of a breeze. We had been here b4 but 10 years is a long time and the town of Tacna is now much larger, still scruffy, like most border towns, and sprawling.

Our courier for this trip was spanish speaking Laura who we were to bump into several times laterr on.

The driver was around 55-60years and experienced. We took off at good speed and immediately got into the first of seven films en route, long journey it turned out of about 24 hours. Anyway its best to pass time with a film, as the road is precarious, the driver fast and the locals always pprefer the curtains closed, so we don’t get to see much outside.

Shortly after leaving Tacna we were hauled in for a security check by a security firm called Sunat looking for Contraband!!
All luggage off, coach searched, individuals subject to questioning re baggage, but we were exempt that one. Two hours later off again and some smiling faces on the coach as it was obvious 30% of the folk on the bus weere nvolved in a clothes scam and had escaped detection.
It gave us opportunity for a pee break . The toilets are generally stinky and messy and cramped on the coaches, no surprises there with this coach!! Best not go into public toilets either, except to say it makes one reluctant, which has a knock on efect of reducing liquid consumption for the duration and therefore causing dehydration - not good. For some reason once wew get going the drivers are hell bent on reaching destination asap regardless of passenger needs - that’s good service then!!

After another couple of hours we passed through another cabaneros check point and all bar us had their I’d cards checked out.

We watched a vampire film, some Jennifer Lopez singing and dancing in concert, meet the fockers, Santana in concert, american treasure and one other which wasa so bllindingly good I have forgotten what it was.

Around 1130 pm we were all mostly dozing when we suddenly all thrown forward with sharp braking then the coach went off the road axle high into the sandy kerbsides.
No screaming or shouting, most clambered off using the opportunity for a pee spot, except a couple of mothers and babies.
I took advantage of the opportunity too and had a look at the scene. Front and rear axles deep into the sand, no flats, no damage, just no hope of reversing or pulling out without assistance.
Around two hours later after being visited by numerous other vehicles coming for a nose around, the police who did nothing constructive that I could see, and other Civa coaches offering help aand checking all uninjured, a heavy goods truck appeared and positioned to the rear for a reverse tow.

Much digging of sand from behind the tyres and replacing with stones, then the engineguard was taken off to afix chain
and in no time we were back on the road. It was intereting to watch who took the lead etc... Ans to see the women very interested in the goings on, better than film.
This being seemingly a common occurrence noone was particularly disturbed.

We woke early am and issued with ornge drinks, but they ran out b4 reaching us in seats 45 and 46 at rear of secundo piso. We had our own reserves!!!

We were again searched by Sunat some 70kms ouiside of Lima and again nothing found. As we arrived at the Civa coach terminal many of the passengers handed items oif clothing which they were either wearing or carrying, to a large short woman with a lot to say and several large bags!!!!

Last time we arrived in central Lima was hideously busy, dangerous and dirty. This terminal was at least secured by baton carrying guards and clean - ISH- we are always talking relatively you appreciate.

I wanted to travel on to Guayacuil in Ecuador, but Paul wanted to spend some time in Peru so after great deliberations we agreed on taking a second overnight to Trujillo, a place we have seen before and which we both enjoyed for small town feel and great old spanish buildings.

We spent some off the streets in area of the terminal inaninternet café and in a chinese eating house, where service was mediocre and food only a little better, although Paul enjoyed a stir fry rice con msg.

On the subject of food - comidas, we have been particularly unimpressed with food in south america. Seemingly to consist of
hot dogs-COMPLETO
Thin sliced beef in bread bap - CHURRASCO
Can also come with egg or cheese.
Hamburgers - we all know
raw fish in onion, tomato and vinegar - CEVICHE. There we are for starters - but in my humble opinion very tasteless compared with anything in south east asia - and generally the only sauce available AJI - just for a bit of after burn.
Another thing on the food front is the inability of the waiters/waitresses to turn up with what you order, language barriers aside, we seem to finish up with their interpretation of what we ask for.
We are not alone, other travellers have described the same phenomena even when the kitchen has been well stocked. This occurs so often - we now say - I wonder what we will get. whydoes it happen - I dunno!!
One more food issue - I hope we didn’t cover this already, is timing. Completely incapable of presenting all that they think we have ordered - TOGETHER. One of us has invariably finished chomping b4 the other's meal arrives.

Our semi cama bound for Trujillo left at 10.30 and was punctual and the courier was again Laura who had been on our earlier coach. We had another dose of films before falling asleep, and it seemed a short night when, at 7.30, we arrrived in Trujillo.
We booked straiught into the Chan Chan Inn adjacent to the Civa bus terminal and slept for a few hours.
Trujillo is a old friendly place and without the danger etc of Lima, a good place to rehydrate etc for a couple of days after our coach journeys.

We cycled into the town of Huanchaco, which is a resort town we had visited previously and managed to locate a lovely pub/restaurant we had found before. It was pretty much identical to
how we had found it except for the new european owners and the Humboldt penguins in the garden
area which were being kept as pets!!!! An old Spanish courtyard style building with english
whisky etc called the Colonial club!

Huanchaco is on the same route as the town of Chan chan which remains from the Chan chan civilization b4 the Nazcas and Incas and
definitely b4 the Spanish. We had visited this b4 and gave it a miss this time. Since our last visit a new museum has been built, but little else has changed. It is in a very barren coastal area. Trujillo being the nearest town of any significance.
On our second and last afternoon there, we were approached by a lawyer, called Beetcham and his sidekick alberto in a nice courtyard bar in Trujillo. We were having a quiet half hour which developed into a session of back slapping, bon homie and hail fellow well met as sometimes happens when you cant quite make each others language conversationally. Half finished sentences and much glass chinking,
you know what we mean. 2 - 3 hours later we made our excuses to escape for a meal somewhere else, ditching our new friends since the elder, Beetcham was wanting to pocket our Spanish dictionary!!!

We "walked the city streets in the evenings" which come alive at night here especially on a weekend and happened to come across a book shop selling english version guide books, alas no fiction.
Did I mention, there is an incredible dearth of books in any language other than Spanish in the whole of South America Certainly no fiction that we have yet found. Not only that there is an incredible lack of Indian cuisine, and I assure you we are constantly on the look our for it!!! When we searched out the Majestic in Santiago I mistakenly wrote it was the only Inidan in
S.America but now I am beginning to find that I was right all along and it is the only indian in Chile and S.A. The food here is so bland!!!!, we are talking street level, not 5 star hotels.

our overnighter again from Trujillo, Ormenio service left an hour or so late unusually, and we arrived in Tumbes around 11am the following morning. We met Lucy and Helen, from norwich and Bedford (resp) in the terminal, who were en route to Guayaquil, as were we and shared some travel experiences with them before we cycled off to the peru/ecuador border. it sort of makes the paperwork easier to cycle over the border i.e. there is none!
Last time we passed this border it was hellish but the customs posts on both sides, Aqua Verdes and Huaquillas, have been moved making the nomansland wider and it was quietish when we went through. In Haquillas I had a salad and paul a meal tipico, i.e. arroz-rice, pollo - chicken, papas fritas - chips at our
regular cafe that we had eaten in 9 years ago, how romantic is that?!!!

(Continued in Ecuador) home

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