From here to God knows where.

Cheap travelling and getting caught by a scam.

So after last weeks escape from Equador the four of us from the hostel spilt up. The French guy and his Peruvian partner went to a close-by resort. Learning from previous experience of Fronteer towns, I continued further with the Dutch guy.

We went as far as the city of Piura in northern Peru. I was only going to stay a day and move further south. We walked to a hotel near the bus station.

The hotel Titanic was well named as my heart sank when I saw my room. A window with no glass. It might work in the countryside but not near a busy junction. Later on, at 0400 in the morning, I was missing the sound of riots in Ecuador.

In the morning, the Dutchman and I parted ways. I got the bus to Chiclayo.

I was surprised by my first bus in Peru. It was like leaving the airport only better. I was shown to my seat. Soon after a light lunch was served with coffee. The cost was 6.50 Euro for 215km.

The bus assistant showed me how to make the seat more comfortable when sleeping. I just wished she did not wake me up to show me.

This part of Peru from what I have seen as I travelled on the bus is mostly sand. The scenery did not change much. I did notice there was a lot of rubbish on the side of the road. A lot of plastic.

When the bus arrived, I took a taxi to my hotel for a grand price of 7 Soles 1.90 Euro. Chiclayo was just a day stop for me, so I was not sure what to expect.

I checked in and went out. I don’t think Chiclayo is on most tourist lists. I did not notice any tourists there, but the city surprised me. Across the street from the hotel was one of the most amazing markets I have ever seen. You could buy anything there.

The centre was also a nice place to chill out.

Ecuador was a bit strange. It is not a wealthy country, but it was a bit more expensive than Colombia. The cheapest beer I had was about 4 euro. Columbia was 0.65 cent.

I am happy to say Peru has helped me get back on my Beer to Eternity mission. 5 Soles 1.35 euro for 650 ml bottle. I am sure I can do better.

My dinner also cost 5 soles 1.35 euro. A big bowl of soup. A main course of chicken, rice and salad. I am back in the game.

Later that night, I went back out to the market. It was packed with people eating all kinds of street food. I indulged again and has street frood for 4 soles 1.08 Euro. I was wondering now if that 5 sols dinner earlier in the day was a bit expensive.

Since I have left Gran Canaria, I have missed the sea. I have never had a desire to buy a boat, but I love living near the sea. I don’t think I could ever live inland.

So with the sea in mind, I made my way down the northern Peruvian coast by bus. Next stop Huanchaco 208km cost 6.40 Euro.

I arrived at my hostel. A large private room cost 9 euro a night. After Ecuador, I fancied some peace and quiet. I got it. There only others here are the owner, two cats and one dog.

I am seeing two constant problems with some bloggers. Number one is that no matter where they go, they say the same thing about safety. Its copy and paste stuff and lazy.

The second is an inability to say anywhere they go is anything but amazing. I had read a few blogs about Huanchaco. It’s amazing they proclaim.

It is far from amazing. It reminds me of an Irish seaside resort that had its heyday in the 1970s but is now lost in time. Huanchaco heyday is now, but it also looks lost in time.

I was looking forward to my first swim in the pacific ocean. It won’t be here.

The town has a lot of restaurants but very few bars. I mean real bars. I did find one decent bar but was unfortunate to end up talking to a guy from Kansas.

I like North Americans. Like everywhere, some are good and some not so good. The bigotry flowing from this guy was unreal. America is great again he kept saying. I was thinking it is a better place now that he was living in Peru.

I would not recommend Huanchaco for a stop, but it was ok for me. I needed to be near the sea and a couple of quiet days were fine after the insanity of the political crisis in Ecuador.

If you come to Huanchaco for the beach, I think you may be disappointed. If you come for two leading archaeologist sites, then you might be pleased.

The ruins of Chan Chan was the seat of the ancient Chimú civilisation before it fell to the Incas. It is just a 15-minute drive from Huanchaco.

At one time over 60,000 people living here and it was the biggest city in the Americas. There is still enough preserved to make it worth a visit.

Huaca de la Luna is on the other side of nearby Trujillo. The Temples of the Moche Empire are imposing.

They are very different from Chan Chan in that they are a pyramid type structure.

The Moche were big into combat and human sacrifices. Both Chan Chan and Huaca de la Luna sites were ransacked for gold by Spanish conquerors. I enjoyed visiting both.

Peru feels different. I not sure why yet. It feels a bit like Asia. Maybe it is seeing Tuk-tuks and street food everywhere.

I am here just a week, but the people look and act a bit grumpy. In Columbia, people are great. Very friendly and helpful. I think the people in Ecuador are friendly also. It is hard to tell when you are looking at them throwing petrol bombs. At least they were not throwing them at me.

Maybe they are just more socially conservative here in Peru.

I consider myself a backpacker on this trip. I am staying in hostels. A far cry from my Sheraton hotels days. I eat in local markets. The finest of food for two euro. The way I see it, the less I spend, the more I can travel. A lot of people don’t realise how far and long you can travel on a low budget.

Sometimes I just like the challenge of budget travelling. On Thursday I went to see a local attraction about 20km from Huanchaco. I knew a taxi would cost about 11 euro return. I used four colectivos for a total of 2.15 euro.

These are fairly run-down vans, and people hop on and off. They are very popular in Peru.

On my way back, I jumped into one that was full. I had to stand up and struggled to keep my balance as the van swerved in traffic. I ended up falling into the lap of an elderly guy. He was not amused.

I said sorry. and tried to laugh it off. I looked at my fellow passengers and they also looked disapprovingly. In my defence, I do think in most other countries people would have found it funny.

After two months on the road, I have got caught by my first scam on this trip, After my escape from Ecuador, I had about eighty dollars. They use the US dollar in Ecuador.

A money changer in the Peruvian city of Piura approached me. It thought it was a good opportunity to get rid of my dollars. After I gave him my dollars, he showed me a slightly damaged twenty dollar bill. Sorry, I cannot take this, he said.

A few days later, I was passing a money exchange shop. They had a sign saying we take all dollars damaged or not. I handed the twenty to the guy. That’s a fake he said.

The second he said it I knew what had happened. The guy in Piura has done a switch. He had a dud twenty in his hand and switched with a good twenty I had. It was only twenty dollars, but my pride took a hit.

On Sunday night, I took my first overnight bus. Ten hours to the capital of Peru. I will stay for three days in Lima.

On this trip, I have always said my plans can change except for one thing. From Lima, I will begin my ascent to a place I have wanted to see all my life. Machu Picchu.

This week’s videos are a look at Huanchaco and my dud 20 dollar bill. Also my visit to Chan Chan.

Join me on my journey. 

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Comments (2):

  1. Joe Grennell

    October 22, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Hi Pat, love your posts. It’s fascinating to see less travelled places. You’ve a book there!


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