Northern Peru, and a VERY merry Christmas in Lima ( but the lemur was not too happy !)

Lima Travel Blog

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well , writing this on january the 8th in bolivia its a bit tricky to remember what actually happened, especially with the vast quantities of alcohol quaffed on Christmas day, but I am trying to catch up to "now" and fill in the blanks, so here goes....

the bus from ecuador to Peru left at 7am, thats one thing I did not expect from this travelling lark, I thought this "extended holiday" would mean a lot of sleeping and lounging about wearing beer t shirts and silly cotton stripey trousers ( not yet succumed to the latter !), what I did not expect was the number of really early morning you have to have to catch buses etc.. so anyway, the early moring bus was fine and we crossed the ecuadorian/peruvian boarder without incident ! one interesting point about the buses over here, they often show movies, and the movies are often MASSIVLY INAPROPRIATE for the audiance/time of day that they are shown. this one was ok, just a violent jet lee film, but we have so far seen about 3 movies about women being sold into the sex industry after being kidnapped and drugged, often very graphic and shown at about 8 am to the delighted squeals of the 3 year old peruvian children running around the bus !

But back to the journey.. it was HOT, I mean really hot, we stopped for one hour at a boarder town to try to find a post box ( sorry folks no luck so we still have some equadorian post cards) and it was 39 degrees C.. OWCH ! and after a few more hours of baking desert heat we eventaually arrived in our first Peruvia town, named Piura. This is a fly speck in the desert and our first stop. D&S were travelling with us so we all decided to go with the guidebook and give the less travelled Northern Peru a chance.. well... if I were to compare this town with Kidderminster, I would be doing Kiddy a disservice !  nah it was not that bad, just F*ck all to do, so we got a cheap hotel, drank some beers in a posh hotel bar ( watching some locals get so ratted they could not walk, and seeing how the bar coped with this, V funny)and hunkered down for the night ready to move on  !

Just a quick note of the scenery here, it is quite spectacular moving on from the rich green verdant hills of Ecuador , through the red soils of the south until the barren dusky yellow of the north peruvian desert, I was very happy we took day buses so I could appreciate this change as it really makes you feel that you are actually travelling distances, a feeling often lost when flying or travelling by night !

The next town on our list was Chiclayo, this is another town in the desert, bigger than piura and with more of an industrial feel, it was a very busy place and I Immediatly felt more at home . Culturally the place was a wasteland, the square was ok, but there was not an awful lot to see here. The best thing ( and only reason to stay here) was to take a short minibus ride out to a flyspeck called Lambajeque, where they have built a truly world class museum to house the finds from the local pre inca complex called Sipan ( why the museum was not built at sipan , 5 km down the road we have no idea, I guss politics) but this was FANTASTIC, with so much goldwork, textiles, reconstuctions and even an animatronic exhibition giving an idea  of how ancient Sipan would have looked in its heyday. ! A truly great museum ! after a lunch of goat stew ( local delicacy and not bad actually)  we ( H&D&S&I) headed back to Chiclayo to check out the non existant witch doctor market ! then back to the hostel for plenty beer and cards on out rooftop terrace. After D&S had passed out ( ok called it a night, but we had drunk an awful lot) H&I went out for drunken pizza ! great fun !

Our next stop ( very hungover) was the seaside resort of Huanchaco, well, again, resort is being kind :-) we found the place no porblem, and D&I sat having a few beers while H&S searched for hostels ( ahhhh equality, I love it !) after searching about 10, they decided on the the first one we tried ( typical, same as when H shops for shoes). The Town is a bit strange, its wedged between the coast and the desert and it s popular holiday spot for peruvians. Its also famous for its surfing ( 2km breaks) and wicker boats. It is not without its charm, it was great watching the surfers at sunset and there are plenty of restaurants to keep the punters happy, but again thats about it. The sewage outlet on the beach and the numerous durex fish seen hapily swimming just offshore kind of put us off swimming ! Also as we were out of season, all the bars and discos were empty, so when the sun set, the town closed. But as a place to relax for  a few days it was great and our hostel had cable tv and a terrace overlooking the water, so not bad !!

WE didnt do much for the next day or so, there were some archaeological ruins nearby that wer were going to see, but as most of the good stuff had already been looted to the major museums, I dint fancy a day in the baking desert looking at a series of small adobe walls ( remember ugarit archaeology chums ??). so we booked ourselves onto a night bus to Lima and spent the afternoon at a mall doing our christmas shopping ( V odd, it was soooo hot, and santa was there in full suit in the heat surrounded by his elves who were warring foxy little elven miniskirts.. was V odd seeeing loads of young men queuing for photos with santa... hmmmmmm.) and at the cinema ( the remake of "day the earth stood still sucks ass.. dont bother !)

So, the overnight bus to lima ( about 8 hours.. but I think was more like 10) got us into central lima the next morning. Cor what a DUMP ! people had warned me that Lima was not so great but this place was really crap ! LUCKILY we were not staying there, we were staying at the FANTASTIC Inca lodge in Miraflores, a great place in a swanky district with some archaeological ruins right at the end of the street ! The weather was fantastic, there were shopping malls, a beautiful cliptop vista, loads of bars, restaruants and LIFE !! just what we needed after the somewhat staid north. So we were here now till Christmas.

Christmas in Lima is similar to Crimbo back home, everyone is mental,  supermarkets are chocca  with people buying more than they could ever need ( especially in the major expat district we were staying in, I gues its not quite the same in the poorer districts !) ! so we did the same. the plan was to have a christmas in the hostel with some home cooked food, so we went out on christmas eve to see what we could find ( it is impossible to buy natural yughurt in Peru.. no, not for my thrush, for Raita, I was making a curry !) and on christmas eve, we were joined by D&S for pizza and beer, just in time as at 9pm everything shuts !!

So, Christmas day came in Peru, it was about 30 deg and sunny ! my first crimbo away from blighty. after a morning of slothernlyness, watching movies in english ( LOTR)  and calling home to wish the family (those that were available anyway) Happy christmas, we cracked open the champers at 12. D had downloaded loads of christmas carols to his laptop and we sat on the porch in the blazing sunshine listening to carols and thinking of snow. And thats pretty much how the day continued :-) beer followed wine followed beer.. at some point S cooked up some chips and dips, and I managed to cook up a chicken curry. Lev joined us from his hostel in the late afternoon evening, as did some of the other residents to share in the christmas cheer ( or is that christmas beer) play "shithead" and generally be very stupid ! I have no Idea what time I passed out, but I did, and H went back to tell the others that for me the "party was over ". Had I known what we would be doing on boxing day, I would not have drunk so much, but hey, this is me we are talking about and when it comes to the vine and the hops, I have absolutly no control.... fortunately :-)

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photo by: rsvpme