Our personal tour guide Jan and his trusty side kick Johnny gave us a great experience this morning touring one of the largest archeological dig sites in the world, located 30 minutes from Nasca. The Cahuachi Pyramids https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cahuachi are a series of dozens of pyramids that have only recently been discovered. Along the way we stopped at some burial sites that have been ravaged by grave robbers over the years, seeking precious gems and sacred cloths that can fetch you $1000's. From the pyramids we drove a short distance to the Nasca Aquaduct site which was another amazing spot. We were dropped at the local bus station where we took a bus approximately 30 minutes to the Nasca Lines...waste of time, money & effort. The buses that supposedly run every 15 - 20 minutes was close to a 2 hour wait. The rest of the day was great!
We left Pisco this morning for the 11 am bus to Ica, a city close to the world famous Huacachina Dunes. We hopped into a 12 person dune buggy driven by of course by a crazy Peruvian driver, which most people expect and want in this instance. A fabulous day was had by all. I was great to spend the afternoon with Donna & Phil, two fellow British Columbian's that appear to be as adventurous as us!
I wanted to start this post by saying "we love the Peruvian people"! They are among the kindest, gentlest, caring, and most giving people we have ever met throughout our travels. I didn't want any of my negative comments about Peru to reflect on the people. The majority of the Peruvians we spoke with completely agree with our comments concerning the decrepit surroundings in certain areas and the garbage being strewn everywhere. They are very frustrated with the lack of government concern and the attitude of some of the residents concerning this issue.
We go out for dinner tonight and had the pleasure of meeting Jose Luis, owner/chef of Taita Restaurant in Pisco. Jose had quite the story to tell us. When he found out we were Canadians he immediately said his best friend is from Calgary, Alberta. Jose Luis went on to tell us how Mr. Bruce was his guardian angel. He met Mr. Bruce on the rough streets of Peru when Jose was at a low point in his life, living on the streets. Mr. Bruce offered to help him get a fresh start and helped him enroll in a culinary school. Jose graduated and began his career as a chef with Westin & Marriott Hotels. You couldn't help but see tears welling up in his eyes when he relayed the story of how Mr. Bruce saved him from the depths of dispair. Today Jose Luis has his own restaurant, a wife and two young boys, the youngest who he named Bruce. What a great story that proves to re-instate our faith in mankind.
Today was a great day starting with a tour of Isla Ballestas and then a leisurely stroll around the wealthy community of Paracas, where the richest 1/2% are living large, VERY LARGE! It sure brought everything into perspective.
We spent the morning touring the Chan Chan ruins. Very interesting. On the road to Pisco (I am assuming the origin of the Pisco Sour) on the Cruz Del Sur overnight bus. We booked a "comfort suite" on the bus which is supposedly the ultimate of comfort. We will see. Lucky Leslie gets to spend her birthday on an overnight bus...HER DECISION!
Not sure if I'm jumping the gun here but maybe things are about to change. The bus to Trujillo was great, a pleasant change traveling with Cruz Del Zur. We grabbed a cab to the seaside resort of Haunchaco and once again, the taxi didn't have a clue where he was going. Why they do not have GPS is beyond me. It would certainly save a lot of time and gas!
We were very pleased when he drove up to the lobby and even more pleased when the Raoul showed us to our beautiful ocean view room. We have two days booked and may extend it a day if Leslie wishes to spend her big day here.
The boardwalk has some new and trendy buildings but once again when you stray from the main drag, same old, same old, dirty, smelly, decrepit.
This is our 3rd day in Chiclayo and the best part of the city is our hotel room. Another bus trip to Pimentel was again anti climactic but okay.
Here is our take on Peru as of today...
1. The place is dirty, stray barking dogs everywhere, all hours of the day and night. Makes sleeping painful if not impossible. Extremely noisy. A bylaw against horn honking would be a great first step.
2. Terrible Roads. In many areas you would swear your in Iraq or Afghanistan!
3. Disrespectful drivers, especially to pedestrians. It appears that vehicle traffic holds priority over pedestrians and when crossing the roads even at intersections, you are taking your life in your hands.
4. Crappy food, unlike the reports we have heard about the great food in Peru.
5. You have to go with the inter provincial bus companies as the local bus companies are pretty brutal (dirty and smells of baby puke & sometimes worse). We will have more to report after our first class tickets with Cruz Del Sur tomorrow.
6. Hopefully things will change after our new destination tomorrow in Haunchaco or we will start making fast tracks to Chile.
Why "Peaceful" you ask, no asshole drivers, no horns honking, the streets are deserted...it is Census Day in Peru and everybody is under a basic curfew to remain in their homes for the entire day. The only ones out on the streets are the 1000's of police officers looking for law breakers. Not too sure what the punishment would be but probably not good based upon what we saw. It is actually a very pleasant change from the chaos we witnessed yesterday.
We strolled to the city centre, commonly known as the historic centre in most countries. We were not overly impressed although there were a few beautiful buildings. One thing we did notice is that every street corner smelled of urine and no sooner did we observe this, around the next corner was a guy taking a leak...REALLY??
On the plus side, our hotel is very nice, brand new, in a very nice location and the manager Percy is great (so is the rest of the staff)! He gave us some advice on where and where not to go and even offered to spot us a $20 SOL because we were out of cash and the banks were closed. I will never lose my faith in the good side of people, no matter where you are!!
Whoops, I guess I spoke to soon....Census ended at 5 pm and everything is back to status quo.
Both Leslie & I are a little disappointed with Peru, at least northern Peru to Chiclayo. Our bus ride today was long and poor Leslie was looking exhausted. It didn't help that we got screwed by a taxi driver at the bus terminal who didnt have the faintest idea where he was going. I should have picked up on the piece of shit car he was driving but we thought he was the terminal taxi director, not the cabbie himself. We were quoted $5 Sol and when I gave him a $10 he said thank you very much, it was much further than he thought. This seems to happen a fare bit in these parts.
Unlike Ecuador, we are finding Peru quite dirty. Along the roads there is trash strewn everywhere with thousands of empty water bottles. I think most people are aware of the ecological disaster PET bottles are creating world wide. The roads are horrible, again, unlike Ecuador where they are spending $$$millions upgrading the road systems, even the remote rural roads, which appear to be in much better shape than Peru's highways. Having said all this, we met a very nice young man from Lima on our bus ride to Piura. He offered to escort us to the second bus terminal and was even going to pay for the cab, which we absolutely forbid him from doing. So there you go once again, wonderful people all over the world. Thank you Michael!!
The terrain varied a great degree throughout the 8 hour journey from Arizona looking desert to lush, tropical areas and then back to desolate desert all the way to Chiclayo. This guys are maniac drivers and pedestrians are low man on the totem pole. You have to be extremely careful.
Things are going to have to improve or it will be a short stay in Peru.
ts going to be a special night tonight when we meet up with the bus companions we met on our trip from Cuenca to Mancora, yes that memorable border crossing. I am sure we will be able to share many stories tonight over dinner and drinks now that we have all caught up on our sleep.
One more full day in Mancora and then on to Puya & Chiclayo on the 9 am bus Saturday morning.
I have always been a straight shooter and a go getter. Many have said Leslie must be a saint to have put up with me for over 40 years. We have been business partners since the day we got married and each played an intrigal roll in our business success. There is nothing more important to us than our Family & Friends. Our love of people and travel has allowed us to develop amazing friendships around the world.
"The New Gineration"
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