Friday, 15 February 2013

A holiday within a holiday........

Our plans to visit archaeological sites from Chiclayo were interesting to say the least. We booked a trip, with an English speaking guide just for us.........or so we thought!! The bus arrived nearly one hour late and when we enquired about our guide things didn't seem quite right, when he turned up he was the guide for the whole group and spoke limited English. So he would do the chat in Spanish first and then again in a briefer or scripted English. There then ensued a 5minute debacle where we were trapped on this very hot bus, with a bunch of Peruvian tourists just wanting to head off while i told him we didn't want to go and were going back to the office to get our money back. He kept refusing to let us off and never said a word in English. Now remember we speak Spanish and the reason for wanting an English speaking guide is these trips are unusually all day and it is very tiring concentrating. I have never come so close to hitting anyone in my life. Anyway eventually he saw sense and let us off.

The manager was very professional, apologised and gave us a refund. By law in Peru every business has to have a complaints book and one of the staff tried to tell us they didn't have one but again sense prevailed and I wrote my concerns-in Spanish. By this time it was 11.30 and back at the hostel Silvestro booked us the same tour for the next day with a better company!!

So we went to the bus station and booked our onward ticket and got a "micro" to the beach. The temperatures in town were about 35 C, so a bit of sea breeze would be welcome. Not before we were roasted in the micro, these are the local forms of transport, when new they are quite comfy and efficient, as they get older they get dirtier and less comfortable. But for less than 50p for a 30 minute journey its the only way to travel!!

Pimentel wasn't the pretties of beaches but sipping a cold Cusquena negra was very welcome. we had ceviche and chicken for lunch and then wandered a bit, it was clearly aimed at the South American tourist, cheesy tat for sale and even cheesier bars decorated with plastic flowers.

Next day , 10 minutes early, (unheard of in Peru) our English guide and the bus arrived. Orlando was lovely, had a good sense of humour and we set off happy. It was a great day , our first visit was to see 25 Huacas , these are S America pyramids. Then to a small town for lunch, delicious goat with rice. 

We then went to Museo Tumbes Reales which holds the collection excavated from the Huaca at Sipan. There is the Senore de Sipan and El viejo Senor de Sipan. Great grandfather and great grand son. It is fabulous, look at google images, silver gold and turquoise jewellery and body ornaments. Orlando really made it come to life guiding us round the museum as he told the story of how the excavation developed. We then went to Sipan to see the actual site but it is more than an hour away on bad roads and for me was a bit of an anti-climax. The museum is not near the archaeological site due to local politics.

We just chilled the next day and then set off for Mancora. This was our final destination , other than a Lima airport hostel. I was not really looking forward to it as had read some stories about the rowdiness etc. It is a surfing venue. 

We booked a small family run hotel, just on the edge of town-the centre gets party crazy. Margarita was a lovely host and it was clean and very comfortable. We went into town and it was manic, streets full of South American chavas, music so loud the ground was vibrating and hordes of young people getting wasted, and not just on alcohol. We later found out that there was a 3 day holiday in Ecuador and hundreds had poured over the border for a cheaper holiday. Mmmmm........thankfully it has quietened down a bit and it is good to go into town at night to eat.

We had 9 nights planned for Mancora and next day set off to find a relaxing place, with a cool room for sleeping ( our first hotel was like a sweat box). Eventually we opted for Mancora Kites, and I am sitting beside the pool writing this. We are 2 minutes from the sea, have a lovely big room, we get sea breeze which helps with the heat and we have outside space int he shade too. Perfect for relaxing, and all for 120 soles a night-£30 including breakfast-not bad considering this is high season and one place wanted 500!! 

Chris went diving yesterday, today I had a cookery class with a lovely man called Martin, he and his wife do classes in Spanish, salsa and cooking and also have a home stay. It was good , we went to the market and got the ingredients to make Arroz con Mariscos-not difficult to make but good to cook in the home of a local and it was delicious. First time I have eaten sea snails and they were good.

Chris dives again on Saturday and Monday he is doing  night dive for the first time. Our main occupation here is lying by the pool, a walk along the beach into town and reading books. I feel really tired and think it is because we have stopped. 

But next Wednesday it is off again on the last little leg. 5 flights in 8 days, one last bus journey THANK GOD and then off to Brazil to see the Iguazu falls and then home via Barcelona getting back 27th February.

Till next time , which will be the last missive from South America. I've had a fabulous 5 months but am ready fro home now........or am I as I look at the blue sky and sea and sand???????

Take care 

Cheesy bar Pimentel

Burrowing owl-Sipan

Tamale for breakfast yum-with chilli salad

Pina colada Happy Hour

Diet coke happy hour!!
Norma xx

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