Piura Travel Blog› entry 11 of 48 › view all entries
On leaving Cuenca, we had some serious travelling to do, starting with a 5 hour journey from Cuenca to Loja shortly followed by my first overnight bus ride (for another 8 hours) from Loja, going over the border into Peru to Piura. Journey pretty uneventful although with a local tradition to pay 10 cents to get out of the bus stations, my coin jammed prompting me to whack the machine and make a 20 cent profit as a load of change fell out - much to the consternation of the ticket officer (you can take the man out of Liverpool but.....). The border crossing between Ecuador and Peru is supposed to be much easier at night with the officials not as fussed to check luggage. It certainly was the case for us and was plain sailing.
We woke up in a different country but could have been a different world. For the 1st time on the trip, there wasn´t a mountain or even a hill in sight. Instead all was replaced by desert. Piura is primarily a transport hub for people to pass through. It is the same size as Cuenca but the pace of life is much faster. Tuk Tuks and Daewoo Tico taxis rule the roads and can take minutes to find an opportunity to get across the road. Food is more expensive than Ecuador and my 1st meal (local speciality raw fish and onions marinaded in lemon starter, steak on pesto noodles, lemon meringue pie desert came to a staggering $2.
The next day was back on the road. However not before we went on a shopping trip for more replacements. There appears more money in Peru and we even stumbled upon an American style mall full of trendy western shops. However all Dave was after was a new waterproof jacket and sunglasses. In hindsight, trying to get a waterproof jacket in a town built in the middle of the desert was never going to be particularly fruitful ! The sunglasses weren´t a problem.
Our 3 hour journey from Piura to Chiclayo was very comfortable. The whole journey being a straight road cut through the desert. It did give us our first views of a shanty town on the outskirts of Piura (maybe Piura isn´t so affluent after all but the centre hides it well). Chiclayo (also built in the middle of the desert) was equally fruitless on the waterproof jacket front. The Jackie Chan Chinese restaurant was doing good business though. We still seem to be the main source of entertainment to the locals, but as we are the only gringos in town (with Dave wearing a bright red Berghaus top and me the only person in town in shorts), there may be a legitimate reason why everyone looks.
10 hours on the bus this time (from Chiclayo to Chachapoyas) to be used as our next base. Its a frustrating element of buses in Peru that they all travel through the night. I´m going to have to learn to sleep. Uneventful trip as couldnt see anything out the window. Got into Chachapoyas at 5am. Need bed.....