Monday, 23 September 2013

Paradise at 'Misfits'

Writing this on the return bus to Lima from Mancora… it’s sunset and we have the panoramic view at the front top deck again! It’s beautiful... but as we are discovering there is a downside to having the best viewing seat in the house… we can see it all on the roads, sometimes an even better view of the road than the driver, especially on the hills! When the sun goes down it gets pretty scary, hurtling along straight roads through the pitch black with corners arriving unbeknown to us, climbing canyons and winding into them. All the time knowing that this is nothing but a small test, the true test will be heading to Cuzco some 3300 meter high and travelling through Bolivian mountians! This is nothing. Parents reading this, relax, take a deep breath it’ll all be fine ;)
So Mancora continues…. with a very different pace!
We spent our first few days at ‘MISFITS’ simply slipping into the fold and adopting the chilled out vibe of the place. Getting to know the two guys who run it, Rodrigo originally from Lisbon and his trusty sidekick Adam from Norwich. They found each other on the travel circuit a few years back and have wound up creating, developing and managing (a loose use of the word ‘managing’) this hostel come odd dog sanctuary. These are the true Misfits of the place! Rodrigo pretty much dislikes them all apart from ‘ma main man’ Oli! Resident Evil has a tumour which is so advanced it is literally escaping through his right leg opening it up for full viewing. Not nice. One evening Hannah (who is obviously not a fan already) accidentally fell on him with her stool…. Rodrigo instantly bursts out laughing and applauding! While poor Hannah is feeling pretty awful and a bit shook up, but only because we didn’t have the rabies jab. Hannah is still here fit and healthy so obviously didn’t catch anything!
‘Oli’ who belongs to Rodrigo, Baby Killer aka BK (got her name for obvious reasons), Pilado aka Resident Evil (a Peruvian breed, designed for the jungle not the beach) and Grandma who is really quite sweet. However, you do find her wandering around forgetting what she’s doing, attempting to dig at the sand with little effort. You can see she vaguely remembers this action from her youth as a means to making her bed at night in the still warm sand! Then there is Hummus a fun loving two year old who floats between various hostels and would join us as we walk to town down the beach in the evening!

The Misfit reception, bar, kitchen and chillout hut

We met an English couple that had been staying for about 4 nights before us, Rhea and Robbie from Bristol. After chatting for a little while in the day we discovered that we all have quite a bit in common. Robbie was starting out as a professional photographer and very interested in film, while Rhea did ballet for about 15 years, who enjoys Pilates and became Yoga buddies with Hannah at the Yoga retreat ‘Chakra’ 5 minutes walk down the beach, ‘inhallaaadoo’ ‘exhallaaadoo’. A little later on in the evening it emerged that at unbelievably the two of them attended ‘Laines Summer School’ as kids and Rhea’s parents may even have a photo of Hannah and Rhea on their mantle piece at home… yup… small world!
Robbie was a brilliant chef and worked in a Michelin Star restaurant for about 6 months back home. It did not take long for Rodrigo to put his guests to good use. I got the onions to chop and wept like a baby! We had an excellent BBQ that night with Adam stirring up some mean Mango Sours. Pisco Sours are a traditional Peruvian cocktail, we are still yet to have a straight up Pisco but have so far had passion fruit and mango ones.

This is Debbie, a Swiss girl full of life and stories to share who arrived at Misfits 6 weeks ago and has become a part of the family. She is the only one who cares for Pilado, rubbing moisturiser and sun cream onto his head every day. In this photo she is giving Hannah and I an interactive update on the previous two series of "Game of Thrones" before we start series 3 which we got from an Ozzie couple that night. Times have changed since I last went travelling. So much more technology on the road with people trading series, films and music as they go, bizzare... but cool!   
Waking up at Misfits was a joy; open the balcony door, head back to bed and look out over the blue ocean with waves crashing and birds darting into the sea for the morning catch. We would spend the days sunbathing, reading, drinking, talking about ‘Game of Thrones’ extensively and playing in the waves! Hannah thinks I am just a big water baby; I am hooked on body surfing.
She managed to catch this "Lord of the Waves" Game of Thrones inspired photo.

We would play together loosing track of time and slowly getting washed further down the beach until Hannah felt suitably battered by the waves. I would tend to stay in a bit longer until I felt the same or like I had ‘pushed’ it enough. There was one particular wave, it was so big that while riding it on my front and getting closer to the shore I looked down as if looking off a cliff head first and saw NO water underneath me. The wave had sucked up all that the shore had to offer! It was a pretty split second decision for me, either keep riding and eventually hit the sandy deck at least 6-7ft below… or bail. I chose the latter and the only way off was to tumble forward! Fortunately the wave was big enough to catch me half way down as I topple of the top, consume and proceed to tumble me for what felt like ages in the undercurrent that followed. What was also lovely about being in the sea was that we could get so close to the Pelicans and other birds feeding, watching them fly and glide just inches off the water right by you and sometimes over you was breathtaking.

Last Thursday (19th) was a full moon. This was our best night of the whole trip so far. All other guests had left the hostel that day so it was just the 4 of us with the dogs. We spent the night chilling round the table swapping stories, laughing and somehow reverting back to the in depth and never underestimated topic of ‘CAKE’, you won’t need two guesses to know who was VERY excited about this! By the time it came round to dinner we couldn’t be bothered to go out, Adam and Rodrigo hastily gave up on the plan to cook after we mentioned we wanted to try a ‘Burger Beach’ burger, this place looks just like Burger King and would be a hilarious copyright infringement lawsuit, if worth it. What came next was a simple but surreal and epic experience. EVERYTHING and ANYTHING can be ordered and delivered by TukTuk driver. Rodrigo took our order like a proper waiter, called one of his regular couriers (who was also our security guard for the night because of the full moon party next door) and added a special on the end! YES CAKE from a favourite bakery in town. Say no more! The pictures describe it all!
The rest of the night was spent drinking, falling off chairs and everyone having a right old laugh at me trying to speak Spanish, months of the year, starting with August… obviously! Confusing them with numbers, which naturally led to more comedy as I have officially created the coolest number ever! "Beyonce"… viente and once… not sure how but it just came out and stuck for the rest of the night.
 Rodrigo with ´The Monster´which he obviously shared with Oli!
At around 11:30 there was a power cut. Next doors party sound system went off (luckily it was still early and didn’t stop people coming later on). We went to investigate, walking out to the beach. Suddenly we were both bowled over; the tide was all the way out giving the beach a new found depth. The moon was bright so we could see all way up into the distance. For the first time we saw Mancora with no lights and no sound apart from the waves. Tranquil is the only word to describe it. We took a longer walk than usual to get down to the water and it was really warm. We waded in a bit further and were tempted with a midnight swim but the security guard was elsewhere and the beach is not the safest place at night so decided against it. It was stunning nevertheless. It’s like someone had decided enough is enough let’s cut the towns power for 15-20mins and let everyone appreciate the full moon, as it should be. Later Adam, Hannah and I went to check out the party next door. It wasn’t really our scene and we left after around half an hour of bopping around to some pretty lame music. The next day it was really nice to hear from Rodrigo that he had one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable nights he had had at Misfits, going to bed with aching jaws from all the grinning.

On our last day (Saturday) Adam took us into town with a few Ozzies that arrived the day before to have some of the finest Ceviche in town at the market. As some of you may know we are not big fans of fish, especially raw fish… but this was delicious! You can see below it is a small’ish plate but you don’t need a lot, with all the flavour and fresh ingredients including coriander, chilli and lime it was muy rico! Not bad for only s/3 each (66p).
Ps. After finishing this blog off in Lima and it is now official… Hannah’s body does not agree with Ceviche. For the second time after eating it she is ‘not a healthy bunny’!

Pps. (Hannah typing 4 hrs later)… seems that the Ceviche has caught up with Kyle now! Eurgh!!

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