Catacaos (Piura)

Catacaos Travel Blog

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Catacaos cathedral
My day in Catacaos was better, in fact it was one of the most interesting towns I’ve seen here in Peru.  Just 12 kms from Piura, it’s claim to fame is the crafts market which features the famous clay pots and figurines using the ancient techniques.  But there was much more than the clay crafts.  Carved wood, leather, taxidermy, food products using algarrobina and the local honey, crafts made from seashells, and much more.  It was a feast for the eyes to stroll through the market.  Apart from the touts pulling at my shirt and persisting for half a block walk, trying to get me to buy or visit their restaurant, it was very pleasant.
Church in Catacaos
  School was letting out and there were lots of little kids in the street but they were shy and resisted letting me take their pictures.  

After visiting the market I got a mototaxi for Narihuala, another ancient site that is currently being explored and excavated by archeologists.  Two young boys got me to take the taxi and told me they would be my guide to the site, and their charm won me over.  They had so much enthusiasm I couldn’t resist.  So Wilson and Gustavo hopped in the back and the driver took me the few miles out to the site.  On the way I was fascinated to see the construction of the adobe houses and the mud and reed fences or enclosures near them.  The people were extremely friendly and we stopped several times for me to take pictures and ask questions of the campesinos.
Church in Catacaos
  Wilson and Gustavo led me through the site museum, stopping in front of every pot and picture and artifact to explain in great detail what it was.  They had clearly done their homework and I was charmed by their earnest manner and seriousness, although at times they laughed and their boyishness came through.  They took turns explaining everything and when one made a mistake the other would quickly correct him.  I enjoyed the boys more than the site.  When we were leaving I stopped to talk to another group of kids who were playing a game that involved throwing down discs to try to make other discs on the ground pop up and change sides.  I tried my hand at it and failed miserably and they laughed at me.  Then I met their pet lizard whose name I cannot remember (he had a first and last name…brother to the kid who found it?) and they let me put him on my shirt.
How do we fit through that door??
  The kicker was the straw leash they had tied to its middle.  I was thoroughly amused!

On the way back the kids were having a great time joking and laughing and jumping out of the mototaxi to explain more things to me.  They kept saying “muffle” which I think had something to do with “donkey” and the driver was joining in the fun too.  They dropped me off at a “piquanteria” as the local restaurants are called.  The touts in the marketplace were merciless in their persistence to try to get me and other tourists to eat in their place.  I asked Wilson and Gustavo to take me to a place.  There was a woven straw and rush roof that cast patches of sunlight and shadow over the interior and a guy was singing boleros with a very fine voice.
Earthquake aid
  I had the local specialities of dried beef (seco de res) with pieces of fried yucca and plaintain chips (chifles) but the beef was very tough and very salty.  It was very difficult to eat.  The other was a plaintain and beef stew that was not good at all.  The plaintains had hard pieces and the beef in the stew was the same hard dried beef in small strips.  I gamely tried to eat them but left half of it in the end.  I sincerely hope that those dishes were cooked badly and weren’t a good representation.  I was very disappointed in that element.  The local beverage is called chicha and it comes from cooking cornmeal and then fermenting it.  The weaker version is served cold and is only slightly alcoholic.  It has a mild corn taste to it and it was very nice and refreshing.
Flags at half mast
  There is another much harder version that I didn’t try.  I gave some to the singer and at the end of the meal I left him a tip.  The waiter approached before I had a chance to leave a tip and pleaded with me to leave a tip.  I was shocked because I always leave a tip.  The singer too, as I was leaving, mentioned to me that I should leave some money for him. I told him that I put it on the table where he was sitting!  Well, that was the only down point of the visit..the touts at my elbow constantly, the pleads for tips and to buy things, the mototaxis bothering with requests to give me a ride.  It left a bad taste.  I understand they need money, but it’s overbearing and makes it unpleasant.  Other than that it was a fantastic day.

I met a guy named Oscar at a pub near my hotel that night and we shared a few beers and talked.  He owns a seafood restaurant in the area and we traded restaurant stories and had a good time.  Nothing more to see in Piura and time to get going and get to Chiclayo.  I’m behind schedule…

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Catacaos cathedral
Catacaos cathedral
Church in Catacaos
Church in Catacaos
Church in Catacaos
Church in Catacaos
How do we fit through that door??
How do we fit through that door??
Earthquake aid
Earthquake aid
Flags at half mast
Flags at half mast
Catacaos market
Catacaos market
Stuffed eagles
Stuffed eagles
Crafts made of shells
Crafts made of shells
Turkeys
Turkeys
Drink Algarrobina and youll be li…
Drink Algarrobina and you'll be l…
Come on, put up your dukes and fig…
Come on, put up your dukes and fi…
Pottery in the market
Pottery in the market
Wooden crafts in the market
Wooden crafts in the market
Narihuela site
Narihuela site
Site museum
Site museum
Wilson in Museum
Wilson Explaining Objects
Human sacrifices
Human sacrifices
Gustavo with chicha paddle and cro…
Gustavo with chicha paddle and cr…
Narihuela museum
Narihuela museum
Viringo dog
Viringo dog
Viringo dog
Viringo dog
Viringo dog
Viringo dog
View of site
View of site
View of site
View of site
View of site
View of site
View of plain
View of plain
Wilson and Gustavo
Wilson and Gustavo
Algarrobo tree
Algarrobo tree
Narihuela
Narihuela
Narihuela village
Narihuela village
Narihuela village
Narihuela village
Andrew with boys playing
Andrew with boys playing
Andrew with Boys Playing
Andrew with pet lizard
Andrew with pet lizard
Boy with his pet lizard
Boy with his pet lizard
Donkey
Donkey
Donkey and driver
Donkey and driver
Village scene
Village scene
Village house
Village house
One of the millions of political s…
One of the millions of political …
Village house
Village house
Mud and reed wall
Mud and reed wall
Drying corn for chicha
Drying corn for chicha
Villager outside his house
Villager outside his house
Inside of village house
Inside of village house
Inside of village house
Inside of village house
Villager with ground cornmeal
Villager with ground cornmeal
Family
Family
Animals grazing
Animals grazing
Statue of woman with chicha
Statue of woman with chicha
Andrew with Wilson and Gustavo, to…
Andrew with Wilson and Gustavo, t…
Piquanteria
Piquanteria
TP and evaporated milk, those cert…
TP and evaporated milk, those cer…
Catacaos
photo by: Belluomo